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Title: A descriptive interpretive exploration of the nurse consultant role and its influence on the research agenda
Author: Taylor, Susan
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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Aim: To focus on an exploration of the NC role and its engagement with and influence on the research agenda for nursing, Background NC posts have only been established in the United Kingdom since 1999. The role is intended to incorporate four domains: expert practice, leadership and consultancy, education and training, service development and research. Although there has been professional literature regarding the role development in general, there is little written regarding the development of the research aspect and how this influences the research agenda for nursing. Design A qualitative exploration of the research component of the NC role was undertaken using semi-structured audio-recorded telephone interviews with 13 NCs across England. Data were analysed using McCormack’s (2000a) multiple lens approach, a framework that facilitated thematic analysis. The study was informed by the theoretical frameworks of Professional Socialisation and Benner’s (1984) Stages of Clinical Competence, which allowed critical analysis of the data. Findings In relation to the development of the research component of the NC role, the data suggest that NCs were poorly supported in clinical practice, and that, although most held Masters Degrees, this educational level did not provide NCs with adequate preparation for the role or for delivery of the research component of their role. There was also poor understanding of the research role by the authors of NC job descriptions who comprised of NCs themselves, service managers or Directors of Nursing. Research has both an academic and clinical focus in relation to development, infrastructure support and delivery and therefore I expected that Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) would have been involved in the development of the research aspect of the NC role. However, there was very little or no engagement with HEIs by authors of the job descriptions in most cases. Constraints of the clinical environment around service pressures, competing demands, coupled with a lack of mentorship and the absence of a research culture and inadequate links with HEIs were other factors contributing to the barriers to research development. However, the findings revealed that NCs contribute to the research culture within their organisations through various levels of engagement, but there was little in the way of active involvement in research projects. Implications for Practice/Research This research has added to the body of knowledge concerning how, in clinical practice, NCs are socialised into the world of research and what support should be available to ensure NCs deliver on the research aspect of the role. Research and Development activities are considered a major job requirement, where there is an expectation that research will be conducted in a specialist area. This study has concluded that NCs are a group of expert nurses who are visibly making a difference to EBP but not necessarily in the way first envisaged when the roles were developed. This study has highlighted an emerging conceptual framework CFRE (Allen et al. 2004) which could be used to operationalise the research component of the role. The emerging field of implementation science is recommended for the development of the research element of the NC role in order to accelerate the EBP agenda for nursing. Key stakeholders who currently employ NCs should review the infrastructure and support provided to deliver on this.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Nurs.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RT Nursing