Review: The challenges facing healthcare lecturers and professors to lead and promote a research-based culture for practice

Butterworth, Tony (2010) Review: The challenges facing healthcare lecturers and professors to lead and promote a research-based culture for practice. Journal of Research in Nursing, 15 (3). pp. 259-260. ISSN 1744-9871

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The impetus to renew the work and focus of nurses, midwives and health visitors involved in
research is growing in strength. In 2007 the United Kingdom Clinical Research
Collaboration offered a structure to the profession that made a progressive career from
graduate to postdoctoral researcher a real possibility (UKCRC, 2007). The problems that
characterised these careers were well known. My research team, who conducted the work
that led to this final report, extensively described the competing dilemmas of teaching,
research and clinical practice (Butterworth et al., 2005).
This paper describes a qualitative study to explore the role of academic staff in influencing
research careers.
The authors describe the small numbers of academic staff who have significant experience
and necessary qualifications in research. It is therefore likely for some academic staff that
their patterns of influence will be based on a more limited experience. This is a sadly familiar
picture as the education of the professions has moved into the university sector. All too
often, academic subjects in life and behavioural sciences (the necessary academic subjects
that underpin professional preparation) are offered by nurse educators who hold no formal
qualification in those subjects. The same is true for research. ‘Research lectures’ are often
undertaken by staff without practical research experience, and the student experience must
be all the less because of this.
The findings from this paper offer some new insights into how research is experienced,
taught and delivered by academic staff, but sadly the solutions have so far been neither
inspiring nor radical. To make a more purposeful shift the changes may need to be more
painful. This paper suggests that the appointment of clinical chairs and joint appointments
may be useful; however, this idea has been interminably slow in gathering momentum. The
purposeful commissioning of an education workforce that is significantly composed of joint
appointments and clinician/researchers could be achieved in several pilot sites in the UK,
were education commissioners sufficiently brave. This would allow staff to be clinically
relevant and experienced as well as research active. A model already exists: it is how most
undergraduate medical education is delivered currently.
Corresponding author:
Tony Butterworth, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS. E-mail:
Downloaded from at University of Lincoln on December 16, 2013

Additional Information:Published online before print March 19, 2010
Keywords:Health, Health research, Healthcare
Subjects:L Social studies > L431 Health Policy
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
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ID Code:10167
Deposited On:16 Dec 2013 17:41

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