More research training will be offered to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals thanks to the new Clinical Academic Careers Training Pathway Strategy launched by U.K. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
Speaking last week at the second annual Florence Nightingale conference, which focuses on innovations in healthcare, Lansley detailed the strategy that will be managed through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Healthcare professionals will be funded to do further education in the research field, such as master’s degrees and PhDs or to spend time doing internships so they can gain experience in using research to improve care.
“Often it is those with first hand knowledge of caring for patients who can apply their skills in improving patient care,” Lansley said. “This is about investing in our nurses, midwives and allied health professionals so they are able to offer the best care possible and make the NHS even better.”
The aim is to put research at the heart of frontline services and make NHS staff some of the best trained in the world. Although there are almost 500,000 nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working across areas such as school nursing, critical care, pediatrics and rehabilitation, only a fraction of these are active in research.
Successful applicants will be able to develop research projects that inform the care they deliver for patients on a daily basis. Once qualified, the nurses, midwives and allied health professionals will use their research to inform day-to-day duties and ensure these practices are adopted in other hospitals and clinics.
The strategy will help people like Dr. Gillian Chumbley who is a consultant in pain service at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Through an NIRH clinical lectureship research grant, Chumbley has been working on better pain management of patients undergoing throat surgery and aims to develop a clinical nursing research unit within the pain service.
“A clinical academic career allows me to pursue my research interests, whilst honing my clinical skills; it keeps me in close contact with patients,” said Chumbley.
Professor Jessica Corner, vice chair, Council of Deans of Health added, “Clinical academics in these disciplines play a pivotal role in the NHS: their evidence-based teaching and work in practice has a direct impact on the NHS, spreading innovation, improving care standards, improving health outcomes and increasing cost effectiveness.”