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Research engagement and research capacity building: a priority for healthcare organisations in the UK

Stephen Peckham (Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK) (Health Services Research and Policy, LSHTM, London, UK)
Wenjing Zhang (Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Tamsyn Eida (Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Ferhana Hashem (Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Sally Kendall (Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 27 March 2023

Issue publication date: 17 May 2023

307

Abstract

Purpose

To research involvement of healthcare staff in the UK and identify practical organisational and policy solutions to improve and boost capacity of the existing workforce to conduct research.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-method study presenting three work packages here: secondary analysis of levels of staff research activity, funding, academic outputs and workforce among healthcare organisations in the United Kingdom; 39 Research and Development lead and funder interviews; an online survey of 11 healthcare organisations across the UK, with 1,016 responses from healthcare staff included for analysis; and 51 interviews of healthcare staff in different roles from six UK healthcare organisations.

Findings

Interest in research involvement is strong and widespread but hampered by a lack of systematic organisational support despite national policies and strategies to increase staff engagement in research. While useful, these external strategies have limited universal success due to lack of organisational support. Healthcare organisations should embed research within organisational and human resources policies and increase the visibility of research through strategic organisational goals and governance processes. A systems-based approach is needed.

Research limitations/implications

The research gathered data from a limited number of NHS trusts but these were purposively sampled to provide a range of different acute/community health service organisations in different areas. But data was therefore more detailed and nuanced due to a more in-depth approach.

Practical implications

The findings are relevant for developing policies and practice within healthcare organisations to support research engagement. The findings also set out key policy and strategic recommendations that will support greater research engagement.

Social implications

Increased research activity and engagement in healthcare providers improves healthcare outcomes for patients.

Originality/value

This is a large scale (UK-wide) study involving a broad range of healthcare staff, with good engagement of nurses, midwives and Allied Healthcare Professionals who have not been previously achieved. This allowed valuable analysis of under-researched groups and comparisons by professional groups. The findings highlight the need for tailored action to embed research reporting, skills, professional development and infrastructure into organisational policies, strategies and systems, along with broader system-wide development.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank CRUK and the project steering group for their assistance in the development of the survey – especially Jess Newberry le Vay. The authors also thank all those healthcare staff members who completed and returned the surveys or participated in the interviews.

Funding: This work was supported by Cancer Research UK (C41319/A28600). Views expressed are those of the researchers and not necessarily those of the funder.

Citation

Peckham, S., Zhang, W., Eida, T., Hashem, F. and Kendall, S. (2023), "Research engagement and research capacity building: a priority for healthcare organisations in the UK", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 343-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-12-2021-0436

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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