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POST DOCTORAL PROJECT: The career aspirations of nurses working in the research delivery workforce: a cross-sectional survey

Chief Investigator: Dr Miriam Avery – University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Organisations Involved: University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.


We know that nurse-led research in health and social care is crucial to enable nurses to deliver high quality care based on the best available evidence. Nurse-led research is being generated within higher education institutions and a small number of NHS roles, but nurses remain an under-represented group in health services research. There is a clear capacity problem for nurse-led research.

Within the NHS, the largest group of nurses working in research are in research delivery roles. This section of the nursing workforce has experience, skills, and competencies in delivering research within a health and social care environment from start to finish. All these skills are of prime importance when designing and leading a research study. However, as there is little published data on the career aspirations of this group of nurses, the extent to which they have the desire to progress an independent researcher career and build capacity for nurse- led research is unknown.

The aim of the study is to undertake an online survey of nurses working in research delivery roles in local acute NHS Trusts to determine the career aspirations of this group of nurses. The study is at a very early stage, with the research proposal and protocol in the process of being developed. We expect the set-up and recruitment phase to be completed by the autumn of 2022.

This study is in the early stages of development. The planned online survey includes questions around the current activities of nurses in research delivery roles, as well as training, skills, competencies, and career aspirations. The findings from the survey will provide much needed data about the aspirations of this group of nurses, which will determine the next phase of this research project. If there is aspiration for independent research amongst a section of this workforce, then there is an urgent need to facilitate progression along this career path.

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