PURPOSE To describe a systematic review of research studies published from 1982 through 1995 in Orthopaedic Nursing since its first issue in 1982. DESIGN A descriptive design was used to systematically examine and classify the research studies published in Orthopaedic Nursing. SAMPLE Forty-nine research studies made up the sample. METHOD A descriptive historical research method was used to categorize the studies according to (1) topic, (2) research design, (3) sampling method, (4) sample size, (5) educational preparation of the author(s), and (6) funding status of the study. MAIN RESEARCH CLASSIFICATION: Nursing research Orthopaedic Nursing. FINDINGS The number of research studies published in Orthopaedic Nursing was higher from 1990 to 1995. Most studies consisted of adult clients in acute care settings. There was increased attention to nursing interventions, psychosocial needs, and professional development (1990 to 1995). Pain was the most frequently addressed topic. Nonexperimental descriptive and retrospective designs were used most frequently. Nonprobability sampling was more common. Numbers of studies acknowledging funding increased from one study (1982 to 1989), to 10 studies (1990 to 1995). CONCLUSION Overall, the number of research studies published in Orthopaedic Nursing has increased over the years and the studies have become more sophisticated. The clinical setting provides a wealth of topics for studies on nursing interventions and outcomes. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING RESEARCH The final step of the research process, dissemination of research findings is integral to the success of the research process. As nursing continues to grow as a profession, the dissemination of research findings to the practicing clinician provides research-based information that can guide and improve clinical practice on a day-to-day basis. Nurses need to take advantage of the opportunities for conducting and using research.