Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'A lot of research is barely seen by the nurses who could use it'

  • Comments (11)

One of the reasons I love my job is that it feels worthwhile. I and the rest of the practice team may not be actually delivering patient care, but we are helping you to do so. We do this by publishing double-blind peer reviewed articles, written in plain English by experts in their fields and focusing on the implications for nursing practice.

We often come up against a barrier when inviting these people to write for us - their universities insist that they only write for journals with an impact factor

While many of our authors are nurses working in clinical practice, a substantial proportion work in higher education. However, we often come up against a barrier when inviting these people to write for us - their universities insist that they only write for journals with an impact factor. This is a method of assessing the value of research through the number of times articles are cited by other authors.

The IF has a huge influence on universities’ ability to attract funding for future research, so I can entirely understand their wish to focus on journals with an impact factor. However, nursing journals with a high impact factor tend to be the highly academic or specialist titles. These have small circulations, and few of their readers are likely to be providing hands-on patient care. So a lot of excellent research, with real implications for nursing care and patient outcomes is barely seen by the nurses who could really use it. And the people undertaking the research are frustrated that their valuable work is not being circulated widely.

The method of evaluating the quality of universities’ research is due to change in 2013. From then, universities will have to demonstrate that it has an impact outside academic circles. Quite how has yet to be finally determined, but they are likely to be required to provide case studies. This will involve huge amounts of work on the part of universities, to set up relationships with clinicians who can put their research into practice or track down instances of it being used, then additional form-filling.

It seems to me that a useful addition to the new evaluation structure would be to encourage universities to ensure their research is disseminated to a wider range of publications. Of course I’m biased, I think nurse researchers should be required to submit all research that adds to the nursing evidence base straight to us at Nursing Times. However, I’d settle for them being encouraged to ensure their research is published somewhere that gives it a good chance of being seen by the people who can use it to make a difference.

A large proportion of universities’ research is publicly funded. That means you and I pay for it.

Doesn’t that mean we should benefit from its findings when they could improve the healthcare we receive?

  • Comments (11)

Readers' comments (11)

  • Anonymous

    I did some research about 18 months ago and it was published in NT as I wanted it to be seen by nurses. Sadly as it flew in the face of previous claims [which were not backed by research] it has been largely ignored. I am also saddened by the fact that very few of my colleagues ever read anything post qualification. We will not become a profession until we push ourselves forward and challenge practice in a constructive way.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    I have little confidence in peer reviewing especially where the ‚peers’ demonstrate that their knowledge on a topic and their writing skills are less than those of the author!

    I have published many articles and the last one, peer reviewed, was returned with positive feedback that it would increase the knowledge base but some amendments were needed, and with a deadline for its return to the nursing journal. The corrections they made were wrong and my facts originally stated in the paper were correct and appropriately referenced. I rechecked of them with the original sources to make certain.

    Unfortunately I was unable to meet the deadline, even with a request for an extension, so that the article was never published although it was on a topic which has had very little written about it in English journals but far more in Europe and I was writing it to bring attention to a particular group of patients receiving inadequate care in the UK. I was also writing a book on the subject which I have had to postpone for the time being.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    From anonymous above

    a second poor experience I had was with an article submitted to NT for publication in the journal. I never heard anymore about it until I received an email a considerable time later with a request for further information from a reader. I had to write back and find out where he had seen my work and was not in the least pleased to find that it had been published on NT.net, in their very early days, without my permission as, since they had never acknowledged receipt of my article, I was thinking of submitting it for publication elsewhere!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ann Shuttleworth

    I'm sorry that the commenter above had such a poor experience in the early days of nursingtimes.net. I can only say that it is not, and never has been, our policy to publish work online without authors' permission. This obviously shouldn't have happened but must have been human error. If you'd like to contact me directly I could look into it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Richard White

    The first anonymous respondent raises an important point. I am a regular speaker on the post-reg education circuit. I often ask audiences about their reading habits in respect to journals, textbooks, web materials etc. The responses are invariably disappointing. I accept that time availability is an issue, however, it is a professional responsibility to keep oneself up to date with respect to developments in clinical practice. As a NT.net and a N Standard regular, I am happy to recommend both as useful sources of current practice. Nurses must be encouraged to keep themselves fully aware and up to date on clinical matters.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Some 'academic' members of the profession actually do this already publishing the academic paper in high impact factor journals as is required by their employer as well as a second, more accessible version in NT or one of the other nursing journals.

    I couldn't agree more with Anne that nurse researchers should be expected to submit all research that adds to the nursing evidence base to both types of journal. However, it means additional work and, given the other demands on their time, this can be difficult for academics to achieve. As said by the first poster, work that flies in the face of previous claims [which may/may not be backed by research] is often rejected by ill-informed reviewers so that their research goes largely ignored. Things move on as new knowledge is gained and new research becomes available.

    This is disheartening and does not speak well of many reviewers who are often (but not always) practitioners with their own beliefs and prejudices (academics have these too I must admit!). Who are they to deny the potential value of well-conducted, valid and reliable new research even if does posit new ideas or suggest novel approaches to care which are 'different' to what has gone before. Change can be a good thing! If nurses are not willing to try new ideas - or think 'outside the box' - practice will go unchallenged and patients may be denied potentially valuable care. Practice will never advance as long as this attitude persists.

    Nurse researchers are not the only ones at fault in the current scenario - the journals also bear some of the blame. They need to adopt new attitudes and. like nurses, take some risks in what in they publish. While peer review is generally regarded to be an appropriate approach to deciding what should and should not be published it is wholly dependent on the true level of expertise amongst them. They should have the courage to say that they don't know when this is the case or to reveal their own prejudices when when reviewing the work of others.
    Unless change is embraced across the board - nothing will ever change - to the detriment of our patients. What sad state of affairs.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    I would like to know what criteria are used when choosing nurses to peer review articles as I am not impressed when these have less knowledge of the subject than the author wasting considerable time, money and effort on the part of the writer as described in my previous comment. It just confirms my impression of the amateurishness of some of these nursing journals compared to medical and scientific journals.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Here, here!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    As a 3rd year nursing student, I agree with some of the comments made with regard to ongoing reading and keeping up-to-date. I have done this throughout my course and will continue to do so post registration. Hopefully, one day it will lead to actually publishing an article of my own?? Early days though yet. Reading various material enhances practice and extends knowlege. Sadly, this is not the view of some of my peers, who think reading is a chore - if they can get away with reading the minimal whilst doing thieir degree, they do. Disappointing/worrying as this ultimately impacts upon patient care.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    I was the only one on our team of qualified nurses who regularly read a nursing journal or studied from textbooks at home after work or at the weekends and still do well into retirement as one never knows when someone might need help or an answer to a query or may, for financial reasons, need to return to work!. my colleagues all believed that they had learnt everything they needed to know during their training!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.