We have a new website go to gov.scot

Choices and challenges - The strategy for research and development in nursing and midwifery in Scotland


Choices and challenges

Part 2. Developing the strategy

Principles underpinning the strategy

The Taskforce undertaking the development of this strategy defined a set of core principles that governed the process of formulating the strategy's direction and recommendations.

The strategy:

  • focuses on research and development activity that engages with the people of Scotland and reflects their needs, and is of sufficiently high quality to inform health and health care practice universally

  • places equal value upon the generation of knowledge and its dissemination and utilisation; no single strand of the process is accorded greater value

  • is developed on the basis of collaborative partnerships among NHSScotland, HEIs and many other interested parties

  • is developed on the basis of collaborative partnerships among nurses and midwives and other professional groups and agencies

  • reflects the wider research and development agenda within NHSScotland, including the Research Governance Framework for Health and Community Care (SEHD, 2001c) .

Strategy objectives

The overall objectives of the strategy are to:

  • develop the capacity, culture and infrastructure to enable nurses and midwives to deliver services that are based on sound evidence drawn from rigorously conducted research programmes

  • enable nurses and midwives to value the generation and utilisation of research.

To meet these ambitious objectives, the strategy aims to:

  • enable nurses and midwives to influence the research and development agenda in NHSScotland

  • strengthen the capacity of nurses and midwives to undertake research

  • encourage research and development activity in all nursing and midwifery departments in HEIs in Scotland, albeit to varying degrees

  • encourage intra-disciplinary, multidisciplinary and inter-agency research collaboration and partnerships across health, health care and social care boundaries

  • enhance the quality and quantity of research applications submitted to funding bodies by nurses and midwives

  • support and develop nursing and midwifery research career pathways within clinical, management and education environments

  • ensure service-user and public involvement in the research and development agenda.

The strategy process

Caring for Scotland stated that:

The Scottish Executive Health Department, working with NHS Boards, education providers, NRIS, NMPDU and [NES] will establish a working group to examine and report on the current situation regarding nursing and midwifery research in Scotland...( SEHD, 2001a).

It then went on to commit the working group to producing a research strategy for nursing and midwifery during 2002.

A co-ordinating group nominated by senior personnel in academic, service and Scottish Executive settings and representing the diversity of the nursing and midwifery community in Scotland was established. The co-ordinating group began the process of wide consultation which was a key governing feature of the strategy's development, and set up four working groups consisting of representatives from a range of stakeholders.

The working groups looked in detail at key issues such as research capacity building, the international context of nursing and midwifery research, the structures and infrastructure required to support nursing and midwifery research, priorities for research, and service-user and public involvement. The co-ordinating group and working groups (jointly referred to as the Taskforce - see Appendix 1 for full membership) also held a consultation conference in Glasgow in May 2002 at which there was enthusiastic and constructive debate of the issues.

A scoping exercise involving all Scotland's academic nursing and midwifery departments and all NHS Trusts was carried out (Fyffe and Hanley, 2002), utilising a specifically designed questionnaire. The aim of the exercise was to establish a clear perspective on the current research capacity and infrastructure within Scotland. Questions were posed to academic departments on issues such as staffing structures, student numbers and RAE involvement. NHS Trusts were asked to give details of relevant strategies, library access and in-house support for nurses and midwives interested in submitting a research proposal and undertaking research. The almost 100 per cent response rate to the questionnaire provided the Taskforce with important information to support the development of the strategy.

Successive drafts of the strategy have been subject to widespread consultation and scrutiny involving representatives from service and academic settings, service users and other key stakeholders.