Developing future clinical research leaders

A recent report has shown that providing opportunities for nurses, midwives, allied health professions, pharmacists and healthcare scientists (NMAHPPS) to combine delivering patient care with research, can lead to improved quality, efficiency and innovation.

The evaluation looked at the experiences of NMAHPPS from across the West Midlands who successfully completed Health Education England (HEE)-funded programmes between 2014 and 2017. Delivered by Birmingham Health Partners, these programmes include the pre-masters Clinical Academic Internship Programme (CAIP), and the Masters-to-Doctorate Bridging Programme (MDBP).

Over a quarter had gone on to gain promotion since completing their programme. Participants had published more than 100 articles on a wide variety of research topics. Half of CAIP and 80% of MDBP respondents had persevered with taking the research question forward after the end of the programme and 40% had embarked on further study.

Programme participants particularly valued interdisciplinary learning and high quality supervision from expert researchers. They cited confidence, commitment, patience and resilience as the key characteristics needed by a clinical academic, which were developed by both programmes.

On their return to work, practitioners reported increased confidence in developing research questions and reviewing literature generated by patients. They also found they were more adept in networking within their organisation and the health service as a whole to build support for their project and translate into patient benefit.  As one participant explained: “There are lots of good ideas on the ‘shop floor’ that aren’t taken forward, but this programme gave me the confidence to speak to professors and the Director of Research & Development – if you take your proposal to the right people, it’s not beyond possibility.”

Past participants’ line managers’ were also interviewed, and universally noted a positive impact on workplace research culture.

Jenny Hiley, West Midlands Clinical Academic Careers Programme Manager, explained: “It’s clear that research-active healthcare organisations perform better, hence the need to support and value the research undertaken by NMAHPPS. Our evaluation shows that these highly motivated individuals return to practice following their programme with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm to engage in research, and commitment to delivering evidence-based care”.

“With the programmes now firmly established in the West Midlands coordinated through Birmingham Health Partners, we encourage health service organisations to promote NMAHPPS’ research and create clinical academic networks to provide a support infrastructure for all healthcare researchers irrespective of discipline.”

The full report can be downloaded here –  West Mids Clinical Academic Careers Programmes Evaluation Report Oct 2018.

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