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Nurses’ opinions matter and they should be heard: How you can help influence research


Emergency nursing is a fast, exciting, sometimes infuriating but most of all vibrant specialty.

We work 24/7 to provide a full range of services, including assessment and management of patients with minor injury and illness, through to cardiac and neurological emergencies, major trauma and mental health emergencies.

We cannot predict what will be encountered from one minute to the next. We are constantly reviewing and reassessing what we are doing and the clinical decisions that we have made.

”We cannot predict what will be encountered from one minute to the next”

Emergency Medicine (EM) is a relatively young specialty, which has flourished in the last two decades. Academic EM is currently going through a process of reflection, while trying to establish priorities for research over the coming years in this field.

Resources are limited, and so we need to decide where the priorities for research should be.

steering commitee

Emergency Medicine Research Group Edinburgh

Emergency Medicine Research Group Edinburgh - Steering Commitee

So, where do nurses fit in to this evolution and how can we help EM advance and progress?

Nurses make up the majority of staff working in emergency departments (EDs) in the UK. Nurses see the whole picture and have insight into the complete patient journey. A nurse’s opinions on patient care and outcomes matter greatly, and as nurses we need to share our knowledge of what emergency care means to us and how this knowledge can help improve outcomes and treatments.

”Nurses see the whole picture and have insight into the complete patient journey”

As nurses we hear to the words “evidence-based practice” on a daily basis but what does this actually mean to us as a profession?

As a nursing student, I was taught about medical research with a focus on large randomised controlled trials and quantitative research. As I develop in my career, I have discovered that there are so many more types of research, audit and service improvement that are important to evolving nursing practice.

Evidence does not necessarily come from large studies that are cleverly designed by experts and statisticians with complex methods of analysis. Evidence certainly does not only have to be found by doctors. As emergency nurses, we have a vast body of evidence from our daily practice that we can share in order to improve patient outcomes.

We act as patient advocates and this role brings with it a certain responsibility to work towards improved outcomes and designing better patient centred care.

”Evidence certainly does not only have to be found by doctors”

I believe we need to share the knowledge we have accrued on each and every shift through observation, experience and most importantly from our patients and their experiences. Nurses’ opinions matter and they should be heard.

Recently, a priority setting partnership has been established between the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the James Lind Alliance, in an attempt to help identify potential ways of improving emergency patient management through research.

The steering group for this partnership comprises nurses, patient representatives, doctors and other experts who can help support and prioritise future research topics in EM.

We need your help, your ideas and your opinions. The partnership is asking clinicians who work in emergency departments, including doctors and nurses, patients and their carers to contribute their ideas for research topics. We are seeking the opinions of everyone who works in, has worked in, or has used the services of an emergency department, so please spread the word.

”We need your help, your ideas and your opinions”

As nurses we need to work together to improve our patient outcomes.

Emergency nurses are specialists in their own right and we have invaluable information to share that can help make the ED an even more incredible place to work. Please share your opinions, tell us what can be improved and do your bit for advancing academic EM.

More information, and the link to the platform where you can submit your research questions,visit: The Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s website



Readers' comments (2)

  • Having to opportunity to influence the prioritsation of research activity in the emergency department is really a sign of the times. Nurses opinions matter because we are at the forefront, often seeing many of the problems in the ED from patient flow, length of stay, patient comfort & understanding, clinical tests, novel techniques and tools, to time and staff management.
    If we all contibute one issue we have identified, that if researched could improve the quality of care or the system within which we work.
    Research is all about finding problems and identifying solutions. We can all do this :)

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  • This is incredibly important. Nurses are so well placed to help developing research to improve patient care.

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