International Perspectives of Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals Clinical Academic Roles: Are We at Tipping Point?

  • Debbie Marie Carrick-Sen University of Birmingham
  • Ann Moore University of Brighton, UK
  • Patricia Davidson The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
  • Han Gendong Chinese Hospital Management Research Centre
  • Debra Jackson University of Technology Sydney
Keywords: clinical academic;, ; international, multi-professional, research capacity and capability building


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.

Author Biographies

Ann Moore, University of Brighton, UK

Professor Emerita Moore, A.P. CBE  PhD, MCSP, MACP, Cert.Ed., Dip.TP, FHEA, FCSP, FMACP, D.Sc (Honorary) Professor Emerita of Physiotherapy, University of Brighton, UK Email:

Patricia Davidson, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Professor Patricia Davidson. PhD, MED, RN, FAAN. Professor and Dean, School of Nursing, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Email:


Han Gendong, Chinese Hospital Management Research Centre

Dr Han Gendong, M.D., Director of Chinese Hospital Management Research Centre, Beijing, China. Email:

Debra Jackson, University of Technology Sydney

Professor Debra Jackson. AO, RN, PhD, SFHEA, FACN. Professor of Nursing University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Email:


Adams, J., Kawchuk, G., Breen, A., De Carvalho, D., Eklund, A., Fernandez, M., Funabashi, M., Holmes, M. M., Johansson, M. S., de Luca, K., Moore, C., Pagé, I., Pohlman, K. A., Swain, M. S., Wong, A. Y. L., & Hartvigsen, J. (2018). Leadership and capacity building in international chiropractic research: Introducing the chiropractic academy for research leadership (CARL). Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 26, 5.

Albert, N. M., Chipps, E., Falkenberg Olson, A. C., Hand, L. L., Harmon, M., Heitschmidt, M. G., Klein, C., Lefaiver, C., & Wood, T. (2019). Fostering academic-clinical research partnerships. Journal of Nursing Administration, 49(5), 234–241.

Becze, E. (2010). Defining the role of the clinical research nurse. ONS Connect, 25(5), 12–13.

British Medical Association. (2015) Walport 10th Anniversary Symposium Goodenough College.

Bowman, C. C., & Gardner, D. (2001). Building health services research capacity in nursing: Views from members of nursing's leadership. Nursing Outlook, 49(4), 187–192.

Campbell, M., & Taylor, J. R. (2000). Academic and clinical collaboration. Contemporary Nurse, 9(3-4), 211–219.

Cannaby, A. M., Gkantaras, I., Finn, A., Foreman, B., Butler, G., Topping, A., & Gray, R. (2017). Implementing a nursing systems framework in a developing country. International Nursing Review, 64(3), 345–352.

Care Quality Commission. (2018). The state of health care and adult social care in England 2017/18.

Carrick-Sen, D., Baillie, L., Deaton, C., Lowes, L., McCabe, C., Norton, C., Tod, A., & Robb, E. (2015). Improving nursing research activity: The importance of leadership. British Journal of Nursing, 24(14), 751.

Carrick-Sen, D., Richardson, A., Moore, A., & Dolan, S. (2016). Transforming healthcare through clinical academic roles in nursing, midwifery and allied health professions: A practical resource for healthcare provider organisations.

Cioffi, J., Leckie, C., & Tweedie, J. (2008). Practice development: a critique of the process to redesign an assessment. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(2), 70–77.

Collins. (n.d.). Definition of practice development. In dictionary. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from

Condell, S. L., & Begley, C. (2007). Capacity building: A concept analysis of the term applied to research. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 13(5), 268–275.

Considine, J., Martin, R., Smit, D., Jenkins, J., & Winter, C. (2006). Defining the scope of practice of the emergency nurse practitioner role in a metropolitan emergency department. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 12(4), 205–213.

Coombs, M., Latter, S., & Richardson, A. (2012). Developing a clinical academic career pathway for nursing. British Journal of Nursing, 21(18), 1084–1090.

Cregler, L. L., Clark, L. T., & Jackson, E. B., Jr. (1994). Careers in academic medicine and clinical practice for minorities: opportunities and barriers. Journal of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians, 5(2), 68–73.

Department of Health. (2012). Developing the role of the clinical academic researcher in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions.

Department of Health. (2015). The NHS Constitution: The NHS belongs to us all.

Ditzenberger, G. R., Collins, S. D., & Banta-Wright, S. A. (1995). Combining the roles of clinical nurse specialist and neonatal nurse practitioner: The experience in one academic tertiary care setting. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs, 9(3), 45–52.

Edwards, N., Webber, J., Mill, J., Kahwa, E., & Roelofs, S. (2009). Building capacity for nurse-led research. International Nursing Review, 56(1), 88–94.

Eisenberg, E. (1987). Academic/clinical career: The best of both worlds. Journal - Connecticut State Dental Association, 61(1), 17–18.

Eley, D. S. (2018). The clinician-scientist track: An approach addressing Australia's need for a pathway to train its future clinical academic workforce. BMC Medical Education, 18(1), 227.
Faivre-Finn, C. (2017). Breaking the glass ceiling for women in academic clinical oncology in the UK: A personal view. Clinical Oncology, 29(1), 1–2.

Fatima, R., Yaqoob, A., Qadeer, E., Hinderaker, S. G., Heldal, E., Zachariah, R., Harriesm A. D., & Kumar, A. M. V. (2019). Building sustainable operational research capacity in Pakistan: Starting with tuberculosis and expanding to other public health problems. Global Health Action, 12(1), 1555215.

Finch, J. (2007). Developing the best research professionals. Qualified graduate nurses: Recommendations for preparing and supporting clinical academic nurses of the future. UKCRC.

Foster, S. (2018). The need for clinical academic roles. British Journal of Nursing, 27(4), 229.

Friesen, E. L., Comino, E. J., Reath, J., Derrett, A., Johnson, M., Davies, G. P., Teng-Liaw, S., & Kemp, L. (2014). Building research capacity in south-west Sydney through a Primary and Community Health Research Unit. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 20(1), 4–8.

Goldacre, M. J., Lambert, T. W., Goldacre, R., & Hoang, U. (2011). Career plans and views of trainees in the Academic Clinical Fellowship Programme in England. Med Teach, 33(11), e637–643.

Gostin, L. O., & Nass, S. (2009). Reforming the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Safeguarding privacy and promoting research. Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(13), 1373–1375.

Gullick, J. G., & West, S. H. (2016). Building research capacity and productivity among advanced practice nurses: An evaluation of the Community of Practice model. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(3), 605–619.

Gunn, A. D. (1969). The nurse in general practice and the widening scope of her surgical role. Nursing Times, 65(41), 1291–1293.

Gureje, O., Seedat, S., Kola, L., Appiah-Poku, J., Othieno, C., Harris, B., Makanjuola, V., Price, L. N., Ayinde, O. O., & Esan, O. (2019). Partnership for mental health development in Sub-Saharan Africa (PaM-D): A collaborative initiative for research and capacity building. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 28(4), 389–396.

Havens, D. S., Stone, P., & Brewer, C. S. (2002). Nursing and health services research: building capacity and seizing opportunity. Applied Nursing Research, 15(4), 261–263.

Health Education England (2018). Clinical academic careers framework: A framework for optimising clinical academic careers across healthcare professions.

Hicks, B. C., & Westphal, M. (1977). Integration of clinical and academic nursing at the hospital clinical unit level. The Journal of Nursing Education, 16(4), 6–9.

Hiley, J., Jerwood, J., Price, J., Thomas, S., & Kenkre, J. (2019). Combining a career in clinical practice and research: The benefits at junior career level. International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care, 7(2), 36–46. DOI 10.18552/ijpblhsc.v7i2.638

Hrynkow, S. H., Primack, A., & Bridbord, K. (2003). Paradigms and progress in building research capacity in international environmental health. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 206(4–5), 413–422.

Hubbard, S. M. (1982). Cancer treatment research: the role of the nurse in clinical trials of cancer therapy. Nursing Clinics of North America, 17(4), 763–783.

Huenneke, L. F., Stearns, D. M., Martinez, J. D., & Laurila, K. (2017). Key strategies for building research capacity of university faculty members. Innovative Higher Education, 42(5–6), 421–435

Jamerson, P. A., Fish, A. F., & Frandsen, G. (2011). Nursing Student Research Assistant Program: A strategy to enhance nursing research capacity building in a Magnet status pediatric hospital. Applied Nursing Research, 24(2), 110–113.

Jeffs, L., Smith, O., Beswick, S., Maoine, M., & Ferris, E. (2013). Investing in nursing research in practice settings: A blueprint for building capacity. Nursing Leadership, 26(4), 44–59.

Leao, E. R., Farah, O. G., Reis, E. A., Barros, C. G., & Mizoi, C. S. (2013). Perfil acadêmico, crenças e autoeficácia em pesquisa de enfermeiros clínicos: implicações para o Programa de Pesquisa de Enfermagem de um Hospital na Jornada Magnet® [Academic profile, beliefs, and self-efficacy in research of clinical nurses: implications for the Nursing Research Program in a Magnet Journey hospital]. Einstein (Sao Paulo), 11(4), 507–513.

Lionis, C., Dumitra, G., Kurpas, D., Tsiligianni, I., Papadakis, S., & Petrazzuoli, F. (on behalf of EURIPA). (2018). Building research capacity in rural health settings: Barriers, priorities and recommendations for practitioners. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 26(4). doi:10.1111/ajr.12422

Liu, W., Zhang, H., Jing, M., Zhang, H., & Liu, G., (2018). The establishment and implementation of research nurse. Chinese Nursing Management, 2018(7), 937–939.

Macpherson, C. C. (2019). Research ethics guidelines and moral obligations to developing countries: Capacity-building and benefits. Bioethics, 33(3), 399–405.

Masood, M., Newton, T., Kharbanda, O. P., Masood, Y., Feine, J., Gussy, M., & Lahti, S. (2017). Building oral health research capacity in India: Identifying barriers and enablers using mixed methods. JDR Clinical & Translational Research, 2(2), 106–108.

Masterson, A., & Robb, L. (2016). Clinical academic careers: Embracing the art and science of nursing. Nursing Standard, 31(13), 40–42.

Matus, J., Walker, A., & Mickan, S. (2018). Research capacity building frameworks for allied health professionals - A systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 18(1), 716.

McCance, T. V., Fitzsimons, D., Keeney, S., Hasson, F., & McKenna, H. P. (2007). Capacity building in nursing and midwifery research and development: An old priority with a new perspective. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 59(1), 57–67.

McConnell, D., Slevin, O. D., & McIlfatrick, S. J. (2013). Emergency nurse practitioners' perceptions of their role and scope of practice: Is it advanced practice? International Emergency Nursing, 21(2), 76–83.

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Definition of research. In dictionary. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from

Minnesota State. (2019). Career pathways.

Mohammadi, N. K., Zaree, F., de Leeuw, E., & Emamjomeh, M. (2011). Share of nations in 37 international public health journals: An equity and diversity perspective towards health research capacity building. Iran Journal of Public Health, 40(4), 129–137.

Mormina, M. (2019). Science, technology and innovation as social goods for development: Rethinking research capacity building from Sen's capabilities approach. Science and Engineering Ethics, 25(3), 671–692.

Nair, S., Tarey, S. D., Barathi, B., Mary, T. R., Mathew, L., & Daniel, S. P. (2016). Experience in strategic networking to promote palliative care in a clinical academic setting in India. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 22(1), 3–8.

Nedd, N. (2006). Perceptions of empowerment and intent to stay. Nursing Economics, 24(1), 13–18, 13.

NHS England. (2019). The 14 allied health professions.

Nielsen, O. L., Kongsted, A., & Christensen, H. W. (2015). The chiropractic profession in Denmark 2010-2014: A descriptive report. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 23, 27.

National Institute for Health Research. (2019a). NIHR strategic review of training 2017.

National Institute for Health Research. (2019b). The NIHR nursing and midwifery incubator.

Nursing & Midwifery Council. (2018). The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

Nursing & Midwifery Council. (2019). Standards for competence for registered midwives.

Page, S. (2001). Demystifying practice development. Nursing Times, 97(22), 36–37.

Pager, S., Holden, L., & Golenko, X. (2012). Motivators, enablers, and barriers to building allied health research capacity. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 5, 53–59.

Peloquin, S. M., & Abreu, B. C. (1996). The academic and clinical worlds: Shall we make meaningful connections? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 50(7), 588–591.

Pilowsky, D. J., Rojas, G., Price, L. N., Appiah-Poku, J., Razzaque, B., Sharma, M., Schneider, M., Seedat, S., Bonini, B. B., Gureje, O., Kola, L., Lund, C., Sorsdahl, K., Araya, R., & Menezes, P. R. (2016). Building research capacity across and within low- and middle-income countries: The collaborative hubs for international research on mental health. Academic Psychiatry, 40(4), 686–691.

Richardson, A., Avery, M., & Westwood, G. (2019). A cross-funder survey of enablers and barriers to progressing a research-related academic career in the non-medical health professions.

Ryan, B. L., Thorpe, C., Zwarenstein, M., Wickett, J., Talukdar, N., Boisvert, L., & Wetmore, S. J. (2019). Building research culture and capacity in academic family medicine departments: Insights from a simulation workshop. Canadian Family Physician, 65(1), e38–e44.

Sabey, A., Bray, I., & Gray, S. (2019). Building capacity to use and undertake applied health research: Establishing a training programme for the health workforce in the West of England. Public Health, 167, 62–69.

Sculier, J. P. (2008). Comment faire survivre la recherche clinique académique (non commerciale)? [How can one insure the survival of clinical academic research?]. Revue Medicale de Bruxelles, 29(5), 497–499.

Shang, S., Wu, X., Gao, Y., Jin, J., Li, Y., Cheng, S., Wen, X., Wang, A., Li, Q., Li, M., Cao, J., & Wu, X. (2018). Investigation of nurses' scientific research competency and training demand in Chinese tertiary hospitals. Chinese Journal of Nursing, 53(3), 277–280.

Smith, M. C., & Rattray, J. (2009). 2020-Clinical Academic Careers: Implications for critical care nursing. Nursing in Critical Care, 14(1), 2–3.

Sørensen, E. E., Kusk, K. H., Athlin, A. M., Lode, K., Rustøen, T., Salmela, S., & Hølge-Hazelton, B. (2019). The role of PhD-prepared, hospital-based nurses: An inter-Nordic study. Journal of Research in Nursing, 24(7), 470–485.

Squires, A. (2019). US nursing and midwifery research capacity building opportunities to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals. Nursing Outlook, 67(6), 642–648.

Squires, A., Chitashvili, T., Djibuti, M., Ridge, L., & Chyun, D. (2017). Health research capacity building in Georgia: A case-based needs assessment. Public Health, 147, 1–7.

Strickland, K. (2017). Developing an infrastructure to support clinical academic careers. British Journal of Nursing, 26(22), 1249–1252.

Thelen, M. H., & Ewing, D. R. (1970). Roles, functions, and training in clinical psychology: A survey of academic clinicians. American Psychologist, 25(6), 550–554.

Tiffin, C. (2012, March 28). Beyond the bedside: The changing role of today’s nurses. Huff Post.

Tinker, L. [Newcastle Hospitals] (2019, May, 17). Make space for research campaign. [Video].

Turner, J., Smith, J., Bryant, K., Haynes, T., Stewart, M. K., Kuo, D. Z., Harris, K., McCoy, S., Lovelady, N., Sullivan, G., & Yeary, K. H. (2017). Community Building Community: The Distinct Benefits of Community Partners Building Other Communities' Capacity to Conduct Health Research. Prog Community Health Partnersh, 11(1), 81–86.

Viney, K., Bissell, K., & Hill, P. C. (2019). Building operational research capacity in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. Public Health Action, 9(Suppl. 1), S3.

Walport, M. (2005). Medically- and dentally-qualified academic staff: Recommendations for training the researchers and educators of the future. Report of the academic careers sub-committee of modernising medical careers and the UK clinical research collaboration. UK Clinical Research Collaboration.

Wand, T., & White, K. (2007). Exploring the scope of the Emergency Department mental health nurse practitioner role. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 16(6), 403–412.

World Health Organization. (2019). Nursing and midwifery: Key facts.

Young, S. L., Gorny, D. A., & Ferrara, A. M. (1992). The clinical nurse specialist role in product research and development. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 11(4), 202–209.
How to Cite
Carrick-Sen, D., Moore, A., Davidson, P., Gendong, H., & Jackson, D. (2019). International Perspectives of Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals Clinical Academic Roles: Are We at Tipping Point?. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 7(2), 1-15.