A group of 70 senior nurses and midwives are to be selected as “research champions” to gather intelligence on the frontline, the government has announced.
The new £3m research programme will allow staff to dedicate two days a week to developing an evidence-based culture within nursing and midwifery.
“We want leading nurses and midwives to champion the importance of research”
The Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leader programme will be funded by the National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR). The research will be used to identify ways to boost care for patients and improve efficiency.
Nursing and midwifery interventions related to the avoidance of skin breakdown, infection prevention and falls, were three examples of the kind of research the programme will support, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
The 70 nurses and midwives will be chosen over the next three years using a competitive application process to the NIHR.
Applications will be assessed by an expert panel and awarded according to whether they can demonstrate research expertise and the ability to influence the nursing and midwifery workforce to engage with research activity.
“The NIHR is hugely appreciative of the vital role of nurse and midwives in the clinical research system”
The successful candidates will be charged with championing the importance of research activity in clinical practice and “fostering a culture of innovation”, said the Department of Health and Social Care.
The programme will encourage research collaborations and the interdisciplinary sharing of research knowledge and skills, the department said.
Health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “We’re putting more power into the hands of frontline staff who understand better than most what is needed to drive improvements in the quality of care in the future.
“We want leading nurses and midwives to champion the importance of research to improve outcomes for patients,” he said.
Dr Susan Hamer, director of nursing, learning and organisational development at the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said it would drive a new evidence-based culture.
“The NIHR is hugely appreciative of the vital role of nurse and midwives in the clinical research system,” she said.
“The 70 senior nurses and midwives chosen for this new initiative will be tasked with driving changes to actively develop a dynamic evidence-based culture within the NHS’s largest workforce,” she added.
“The knowledge and experience gathered on the frontline puts us in a unique position”
Emma Munro, head of nursing and professions research and development at University Hospital Southampton, said: “The knowledge and experience gathered on the frontline puts us in a unique position for intelligence gathering that can transform health and care.
“I want to encourage my nursing and midwife colleagues to be part of this programme that influences and develops research priorities so we can provide the best possible experience for our patients,” she said.
The programme will begin in April 2019. Further details on the selection process will be published soon, the Department of Health and Social Care