Student nurses are introduced to the world of research in Leicester

Posted on by Kelly Gleason in Professional Development, Research

Have you ever noticed that Clinical Research Nurses are looked upon differently than other Nurse Specialists? After 5 years in the role I have……

The Trust I work for is very research active, the CRNs are the largest of the specialist nurse groups; 3% of the total nursing workforce. Yet we remain low on our clinical colleague’s radar, with little understanding about our role and our contribution to patient care.

I’ve never been one to accept substandard situations so set about thinking about how we could raise our profile, educate our colleagues and get everyone engaged in the seemingly invisible world of clinical research!

My idea was to create a demand for information. I thought if we engage and educated the student nurses with an active and informative clinical placement, they would then go back and disseminate information about the work we do to their mentors.

This ticked two boxes for me; not only would it help raise the profile, more importantly it would give student nurses an appreciation not just of where, but how the evidence for practice is derived.

I developed a pathway placement programme for second and third year student nurses from the Coronary Care Unit to spend a week within our Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit.

The programme has had great feedback universally from the student nurses and the CRNs. It had some unexpected benefits for the student nurses – such as improved cardiac A&P from viewing cardiac MRIs with a research fellow. The clinical team from CCU have requested a similar programme be devised for their trained staff, so I am happy that we’ve raised our profile.

The placement has also allowed us to showcase clinical research as a viable career path, engaging the next cadre of innovators and academics to build on the success that the NHS has achieved through clinical research in the years since its inception.

Mary Harrison works as a research nurse at the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.

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