More nurses will be encouraged to access training in clinical research under plans unveiled by the government yesterday.
Speaking at the Florence Nightingale Foundation annual conference in London, health secretary Andrew Lansley announced the creation of a clinical academic careers training pathway strategy.
He said said the strategy would allow nurses and midwives to undertake further education in the field of research or spend time doing internships to gain experience of it.
The government’s aim is to “put research at the heart of frontline services”, with successful applicants to the scheme able to develop research projects that “inform the care they deliver for patients”.
Mr Lansley told the conference: “The strategy will build excellence and provide nurses, midwives and allied health professionals opportunities to advance their careers without having to leave clinical practice.
“This will lead to more consultant roles, meaning they can take not only a clinical and managerial lead in their organisations, but also an education and research lead, advancing practice for everyone and improving patient outcomes,” he said.
“Clinical academics, who give hands on care as well as conducting research, are ideally placed to drive the adoption and spread of best practice, innovation and new technologies, all for the benefit of patients,” Mr Lansley added.
David Foster, the Department of Health’s newly appointed deputy director of nursing, said he was “heartened to hear” about the creation of the academic careers pathway strategy. Mr Foster was until yesterday deputy chief nursing officer. Research will form part of the brief of his new post, which has been created under the government’s reforms.
Jessica Corner, vice-chair of the Council of Deans of Health, described the new strategy as “an important step forward” in supporting more nurses and midwives to move into successful clinical academic careers.
She said: “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.”
The government said the strategy will be funded by the National Institute of Health Research and not from existing nurse training budgets.