Research Nurse Professional Development Meeting: Where do we go from here?
The first research nurse professional development day was held this year at Imperial College London. Around 75 nurses gathered together in the Council Room of the Rector’s Lodge to listen, share and discuss the emergence of this new role, how it has developed to date and what career pathways are available.
The morning started with a presentation from Dr David Foster on developing national nursing careers in clinical research and the changes the new Health Bill will bring that may impact on these pathways. Yes, change is on its way, but Dr Foster feels that the development of nurses is still a priority. He commented that “over his dead body” would academic-clinical appointments for nurses be a pipe dream. Dr Foster felt it is true that other professional groups are ahead of nurses in attaining awards for advance education but that research nurses must continue to strive towards excellence and have our voice heard.
Nicky Perry, chair of the Institute of Clinical Research Special Interest Group for Research Nurses presented the findings from a professional development survey carried out by the ICR SIG. The findings demonstrated that there is still a great deal of variation amongst research nurses but that we share the feeling that ‘we are learning as we go’ with no formal training for the role. Many also felt that they were not being recognised for their specialist knowledge in research – whether by their managers, multidisciplinary team colleagues and peers – leaving research nurses sometimes feeling misunderstood and undervalued in their roles. There was an overwhelming need for standardisation of training and sharing amongst research nurses from all areas.
Helen Pidd then kindly stood in for Dr Les Gelling (who was unable to be there on the day), to introduce the newly published second edition of the Competency Framework for Clinical Research Nurses 2011. The new version is shorter, easy to use and can be adapted to any research environment. It includes four core competencies and skills & knowledge for bands five through to eight. To view the new Competency Framework for Clinical Research Nurses 2011 click here.
After lunch we heard about the trail blazing new initiative at the Wellcome Trust CRF in Manchester. This new initiative, a partnership with the SHA, the Trust, the University and the CRF, arose partly from a gap in service. The Wellcome Trust CRF transformed a need for more robust medical cover into an opportunity for nurses. On completion of an MSc in Advanced Practice, these nurses will step into an advance practice role and provide some in-house cover for studies. A great example of modernising nursing careers!
Dr Kathryn Jones has been pivotal in developing independent nurse prescribing at Imperial College Healthcare Trust. In her presentation on Independent Prescribing and The Clinical Research Nurse she highlighted the importance of proper workforce planning when developing new roles for nurses. Dr Jones emphasised the drive for developing new roles should be the need to improve service delivery and the patient experience. In her model for implementing new roles, she demonstrated that the success is dependent on shared vision, local champions, action learning and team, peer and buddy support.
Professor Christine Norton finished the day with a presentation on academic nursing careers with a call for nurses to remain ‘clinical’ even when climbing the academic career ladder. She highlighted the importance for nurses to carry out important research that will not be the priority of other multidisciplinary team members but will have a great impact on the quality of life of patients. She encouraged nurses to be proactive in seeking the opportunities available to them. Professor Norton revealed the total number of nurses successful in receiving awards for further education, highlighting the need for greater numbers of applications as well as better quality applications. She said, “A PhD is about 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration” and that most nurses are capable – it is a matter of choice and focus. Professor Norton’s down to earth approach can truly make you feel like you want to give it a try!
To view presentations from the meeting, Profesional Development Meeting videos, audios and slides presentations.
Thank you to everyone who attended and sent us feedback on the day. We apologise to those whom we could not accommodate as the day was fully booked out, but we hope you will enjoy the parts of the day we have captured in our media coverage. Hopefully we will see you again next year!
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