Survey shows student nurses want to learn more about research

In a poll of 109 pre-registration nursing students in the UK, 44% said they wanted their curriculum to include more research, such as how to interpret it and how to carry it out.

“All healthcare professionals need to have foundational understanding of the role of research”

Brendan McCormack

Asked about what barriers they saw to engaging in research, 47% said they did not “obtain enough understanding” of it in their programme.

Meanwhile, 39% felt they had too many “more pressing academic demands” to turn their attention to research, while 29% said there was “not enough support available” for them to do it.

More than half of respondents said they enjoyed learning about research, while around 70% said research was relevant to their pre-registration training.

The survey was carried out by an undergraduate adult nursing student at the University of Stirling for a new report released today by the Council of Deans of Health, which represents faculties of nursing, midwifery and allied health professions in the UK.

The authors made a series of recommendations for increasing and improving research opportunities for those studying nursing, midwifery and allied health professions.

These include:

  • Create more funded opportunities for students to become involved in research projects
  • Enable more students to undertake research placements with clinical research teams
  • Ensure staff members develop their own research portfolios, so they are seen by students as “role models”
  • Make research outcomes consistent for students in all professions, which could include the introduction of regulatory bodies
  • Give staff support including through training, mentoring and seminars to integrate research into curricula

The report, called Becoming research confident, included a series of case studies showing how universities had managed to embed research into their pre-registration programme.

Professor Brendan McCormack, executive member for research at the Council of Deans of Health, said: “All healthcare professionals need to have foundational understanding of the role of research in assessing, evaluating and improving practice and universities play a crucial role in equipping the future workforce with the skills and confidence to apply and produce evidence.

“The case studies included in this report show the diversity of approaches taken to making students confident users and producers of research,” he said.

“The report also highlights the obvious potential to increase research opportunities for students through close collaboration between universities and practice partners,” said Professor McCormack.

The council has pledged to continue to develop its work in this area to promote best practice and influence policy debates about the value of research.