Research. An apparently benign eight-letter word that seems to have a habit of representing a multitude of sins for many nurses, myself included. After wading through paradigms, ontologies and epistemologies during my pre-registration training and having lived to tell the tale, I found myself ready to box up my lecture notes and immerse myself in the challenging, glorious world of direct clinical care.
I suspect that, deep down, I knew then, as I know now, that nursing is not that simple. Research is the engine that drives us to improve the care we provide for patients, for families and for ourselves. It cannot simply be put back into its box, nor should we seek to keep it there. It seems to me that the challenge lies in bringing it to life by making it relevant and making it real. Lord Willis's Shape of Caring review recognised this and presented a call to action: ‘Employers need to recognise that there is powerful evidence regarding the benefits and return on investment of registered nurse leaders who successfully combine practical clinical and academic work’ (Health Education England, 2015:57).
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