The Evolving Professional Identity of the Clinical Research Nurse - A Qualitative Exploration

Kunhunny, S. & Salmon, D. (2017). The Evolving Professional Identity of the Clinical Research Nurse - A Qualitative Exploration. Journal Of Clinical Nursing, doi: 10.1111/jocn.14055

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Clinical research nurses (CRN) make a significant contribution to healthcare research within the UK and internationally. However, lack of clarity about their role, and scope of practice renders their contribution within the profession and in the minds of the wider public invisible. This has implications in terms of promoting the role nurses play not only in terms of recruitment, retention, and care of research participants but also as research leaders of the future.

AIM: To examine the perspectives of CRNs in the UK on their professional role identity, in order to inform the professional practice of Clinical Research Nursing.

METHODS: Exploratory qualitative design using thematic analysis conducted within a realist paradigm.

FINDINGS: Participants viewed the positive aspects of their identity 'as agents of change' who were fundamental to the clinical research process. Resourcefulness and the ability to guide members of the research team were valued as key to job satisfaction. Successful navigation through the complexity of advice, support, management and leadership tasks related to their role in caring for research patients were role affirming and generated a sense of pride. However, lack of recognition, clarity of the role and career development opportunities within an identified structure undermined the CRN identity and optimism about progression in the future. Participants reported feeling invisible to colleagues within the clinical community, isolated and excluded from wider nursing groups.

IMPLICATIONS: The study describes UK CRN practice, highlighting the positive benefits and challenges associated with the role, including the need to support professional development to maximise their research contribution. Drawing on international comparators the study makes recommendations to establish well-defined educational, career and promotional pathways that include opportunities for research leadership.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kunhunny, S. and Salmon, D. (2017), The Evolving Professional Identity of the Clinical Research Nurse - A Qualitative Exploration. J Clin Nurs., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14055. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Clinical research nurse, job role, perspectives, professional identity, qualitative, thematic
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Adult Nursing
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18153

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