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A discussion is taking place on The Research Nurses’ network of the UK National Institute for Health Research, about developing the role of Link Nurse for Research. They suggest that the role of Link Nurse would have great benefits in promoting research awareness among nurses.

A Link Research Nurse can bring together research teams and clinical teams and help to break down barriers between research and practice. A Link Nurse will be part of both teams – clinical and research. She/ he will be able to make clinical nurses more aware of research activity and research findings in their clinical speciality, so that there is less separation between research and clinical practice. A Link Nurse can encourage dissemination of information which facilitates introduction of research findings into practice.
Comments from the group (edited) include:

•    a role (clinical staff to act as a champion or link nurse)  between clinical and research can raise awareness of clinical research and help to develop stronger bonds between the two.

•    the role of Link Nurse gives nurses direct links to teams to gain expert opinions on new studies; interest in research is increasing; finding PIs has become slightly easier; and our twice yearly research seminar has reached full attendance capacity and we are turning people away. 

•    The role really helped establish several new interventional trials and ended up embedding research so well that the role was later absorbed back into a clinical role as the whole team engaged with research.

•    It sounds like some areas have really got it embedded into the nursing culture and I imagine that took some time. Raising the profile of nurses and research is a struggle.

The UK team has shared descriptions of the role and some examples. Some Link Research Nurses divide their time between the two teams, others fulfil their collaborative role from a base in research or practice.

It would be interesting to know what members of the networkthink about developing the Link Research role. Do you think that your organisation would benefit from establishing a Link Research Nurse, to share information about research activity and encourage dissemination of findings?




  • nicolamchugh Nicola McHugh 1 Nov 2013

    It does sound great, doesn't it. What do you think would block development of the role - and can we find a way round it?
    Even if it wasn't an official role, is there anyone who could take on a liaison role and help share awareness of what is happening locally?
    How can this group help?

  • deborahjonathan debbie 30 Oct 2013

    this sounds great, but I doubt if it will work in our country -South Africa.

  • nkupiso Nono Nkupiso 18 Oct 2013

    I think my organisation will be interested in this as they also have a fellowship program that encourages people to learn more about research.