To encourage high-quality nursing and midwifery research in order to address and support a number of contemporary policy drivers and strategies.
Developing and sustaining future clinical academic positions not only depends on the common high-level strategic commitment between the HEIs and the NHS, but also significant financial resource at a time of fiscal constraint. There is also a need to foster engagement and commitment at all levels if a clinical academic framework is to be accepted and sustained within the practice. This means influencing the current clinical culture to appreciate and value the benefits of patient care and outcomes that come from embedding academics and research activity within clinical areas. Given that it can take a number of years to train and develop high-quality nurse research staff we must, therefore, ensure that we:
- Provide supportive environments that raise the standard of research to the very highest level, and ensure that clinical academics feel valued, rewarded and committed to an on-going clinical-academic career.
- Retain and/or re-engage those trained to date who have a demonstrable ability and commitment to furthering nursing research.
- Ensure that we have an efficient means of identifying the high-quality clinical academics of tomorrow, prior to more substantial training and investment in them.
Such a focus not only ensures that any funding invested is efficiently used but, through the improved identification of the right people, maximises the likelihood that their research activities will be income generating via externally funded grants, HEIs’ REF (Research Excellence Framework) returns, and a Health Board’s NHS Support for Science allocation.
To address the challenges we have focused on four mutually supportive strands of activity:
- Financial support for up to 15 aspiring nurse researchers through studentships and funded places on the Master of Nursing in Clinical Research programme at Edinburgh University during the 2013-14 academic session.
- Award of 4 re-engagement/retention fellowships (3 general/open and 1 dedicated to learning disabilities).
- A nursing/midwifery research and clinical academic forum, with a strategic and support role, and a means of formalising NHS links to research. This includes the creation of a framework for embedding clinical academic posts within the NHS.
- Research development for consultant NMAHPs.
Each strand has multiple layers of activity and continues to evolve. Strategic outcomes from the activities include the development of research capacity and capability of clinical academic NMAHPs in Scotland, and enhancement of the environment within which they are identified, developed and retained. Such capacity and capability would support the evidence base to develop safe, effective and person-centred services within the NHS in Scotland.