Capturing the Real Impact of Clinical Academics in Practice
The Clinical Academic Careers Framework proposes an over-arching structure to develop the clinical academic workforce whose activities have patient benefit within a clear UK programme. Traditionally this has centred on professionals from medicine and dentistry, but in the last ten years has developed into a more inclusive career framework for non-medical health professions which includes Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHPs) and Healthcare Scientists (HCSs) that provide NHS services. As such, it is reported that clinical academic NMAHPs and HCSs can contribute to the generation and translation of new knowledge to help improve outcomes and experiences for patients. In this article, we explore key issues relating to the impact of clinical academic NMAHPs and HCSs on clinical practice in a UK context, as well as some measurements of impact, including the value and limitations of currently used metrics (such as Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs). We report that measuring the learning in practice of this novel role will need to include smart metrics alongside a person-centred approach. We share four national case studies, all of which are drawn from clinical academic researchers from different UK settings to show the real variety and differences in roles. We argue that this is the key both to learning in practice about this role, and to witnessing the real differences clinical academics make.
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