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London trust seeks to increase pace of nursing research

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A specialist trust in London has taken action to empower its nurses at every level to get involved in research.

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has built a requirement into the job description for nurses in all bands that they support research in some way, as well as carry out clinical audits and service improvement initiatives.

“We want to make sure that we are publishing as much if not more than our medical colleagues”

Sarah Needham 

Deputy nursing director Sarah Needham said: “At Moorfields, we are world renowned for our medical research, but we need to build the profile of our nursing research.”

She told Nursing Times the aim was to build the evidence base in ophthalmic nursing ahead the launch of the new Moorfields hospital in 2025-26.

“A lot of nursing research does happen nationally but in terms of what we do at Moorfields we need to build our evidence base to prepare us for our new hospital,” she told Nursing Times.

“We are planning on opening a new hospital in [2025-26], which will be a state-of-the-art ophthalmology unit, and we want to make sure that we are publishing as much if not more than our medical colleagues,” she added.

Ms Needham highlighted how supporting the progression of its nurses by providing education opportunities was key at Moorfields.

Even in the face of massive national budget cuts for clinical professional development, the organisation had sought to prioritise career progression.

“We are really fortunate that our director of nursing is really passionate about education and she has invested heavily in the workforce for a number of years,” said Ms Needham.

“We just want to continue doing that and building on it and giving more opportunities for our staff going forward,” she added. 

This approach and the reputation of the organisation meant Moorfields was not struggling with major nurse recruitment issues, Ms Needham told Nursing Times. 

“We have got to think about how we do things differently to encourage the next generation”

Sarah Needham 

However, she noted that the trust was facing a challenge because a large number of its nurses were coming up to retirement in the next five years. 

“We are really fortunate that we have a national and international really good reputation in terms of leading the way in ophthalmology and if a nurse wants to come and work in ophthalmology then Moorfields is the best place to come,” she said.

“But we have got to be mindful that a lot of our nurse have potential to retire in the next five years and so we have got to think about how we do things differently to encourage the next generation to come and have a career in ophthalmology,” Ms Needham added.

Her comments come after Moorfields announced last month that it was launching an ophthalmic clinical practice master’s degree course for nurses in partnership with University College London.

Ms Needham spoke to Nursing Times during a conference about nurse retention in London hosted by the NHS CapitalNurse group.

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