International Perspectives of Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals Clinical Academic Roles: Are We at Tipping Point?
Healthcare research activity improves patient outcomes. Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professions (NMAHPs) make an important contribution to clinical research. Within the United Kingdom (UK), there is a 25-year history of increasing healthcare research capacity and capability through clinical academic roles. Medical colleagues were the first to introduce the role in 2005. In 2007, a national policy identified inequalities in access to and success of research training fellowships between medical and nursing healthcare professionals. This was followed by a number of national initiatives, which continue to evolve to the present day. There is evidence that the UK has reached the ‘tipping point’ to increase NMAHP research capacity and capability through clinical academic roles. Despite these initiatives substantial gaps remain. Outside, the UK, the term ‘clinical academic’ is not well understood. There is evidence of the presence of senior clinical academic roles, a clinical professor within Australia and the United States, for example, but there is a lack of opportunities and of a formulised research training pathway at a junior level. There is interest and appreciation of the NMAHP research-active clinical academic within the clinical setting in the Nordic countries and China, but the pace of change is slow due to co-existing priorities involving change and innovation. There is a need to develop and agree both national and international definitions that describes the NMAHP research-focused clinical academic role activity.
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