New scheme aims to boost midwife and nurse leadership in research

By Steve Ford, Editor of the Nursing Times on 02 November 2018 Research Leadership

A new research leadership programme has been launched today for midwives and nurses, in a bid to provide members of both professions a chance to develop in the area.

The National Institute for Health Research said its new senior nurse and midwife research leadership programme would “strengthen the research voice” and “drive improvements in future care”.

It follows previous concerns around the lack of structured opportunities for nurses to work on clinical research, especially when looked at in contrast to medicine, as revealed in a recent survey by Nursing Times and the NIHR.

The institute said the 70@70 NIHR Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leader Programme will have places for 70 senior nurse and midwife clinical leaders, as reported earlier this year by Nursing Times.

The NIHR said applicants should have experience of building a research-led care setting and a record of developing existing practice and working in a “research rich environment”.

The 70 successful applicants will form a “new community” of senior clinical nurses and midwives who will “champion the promotion of an embedded research active culture”.

“The programme provides the space and time to share learning across teams”

Clare Meachin

They will also “encourage and support innovation, and inform research priorities in their organisations”, said the NIHR.

It added that those on the scheme would get protected time for it and should be able to dedicate two days a week over a period of three years.

Clare Meachin, associate director of nursing at the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network and 70@70 programme director, said: “I am delighted to announce 70@70, an exciting programme that offers senior nurses and midwives the opportunity to support innovation and drive improvements in future care.

“The programme provides the space and time to share learning across teams, organisations and the NHS,” said Ms Meachin.

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Clare Meachin

“Nurses and midwives are by far the largest group of health care professionals and have such an important contribution to make to research delivery,” she said.

She added that the 70@70 would “strengthen the research voice and influence of nurses and midwives in NHS provider organisations”.

Applications to join cohort one are now open. The closing date is 30 November 2018. More information on the programme and how to apply is available on the NIHR website.

This time last year, the NIHR published a new strategy for clinical research nurses, as exclusively revealed by Nursing Times.

Earlier this week, a leading professor said that the historical under-representation of nurses and midwives in health research roles is at “tipping point” in the right direction.

Debbie Carrick-Sen, a Florence Nightingale Foundation clinical professor of nursing and midwifery research, said these professions were “hugely valuable” to the research agenda and needed to have “equal access” to opportunities.

Find out more about the 70@70 NIHR Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leader Programme here