Background: Epidemiological research is seen by many to have immense value in helping to determine the health of populations and in helping to plan and determine health service policy. Despite this it seems to be poorly understood and greatly underused by the nursing profession.
Conclusion: Epidemiological studies can potentially offer considerable benefits to the way nurses incorporate health-related practices into their professional role. Research also offers a valuable opportunity for the nursing profession to become more active in helping to determine health policy issues. This article explores the nature of the dilemmas surrounding nursing and epidemiology and argues that nursing might be better served by a more proactive role in this valuable research discipline.