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Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals from across North West make their research pledges

Over 100 health and care professionals from across the North West came together in person and online for an event to support the embedding of research in clinical services in health and social care.

The North West Regional Chief Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Meeting was held at St Helen’s Rugby Club on 9 November 2023 and had a packed agenda with speakers, presentations and a showcase event.

Chris Smith, (Chief Operating Officer, CRN North West Coast) and Sarah Fallon (Chief Operating Officer, CRN Greater Manchester) opened the event and spoke about setting the context and the vision across the North West. Professor Sarah O’Brien (Chief Nursing Officer, Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board) spoke about workforce developments and recruitment and retention.

Keynote speaker Professor Ruth Endacott (pictured), Director of Nursing and Midwifery at NIHR, talked about forthcoming initiatives for research interested NMAHPs, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. She spoke about national research strategies, about identifying the next generation of aspiring research clinicians and about the need to inspire staff to become interested in research as part of a recruitment and retention plan.

Professor Cheryl Lenney, Chief Nurse, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT,) spoke about embedding research across departments at Trust level and the importance of enabling this at Board level, through the Chief Nurse community. Chief Nurses can explore ways to embed research through a variety of initiatives. She spoke about changes in practice through research and how research is less ‘something nice to do’ but more that it should be embedded into everyday practice.

Janette Dunkerley, Assistant Chief Nurse for Research and Innovation at MFT and NIHR Director of Nursing with CRN GM and NWC, gave a presentation on how to embed research across organisations through appraisals at all levels, with conversations focused on the importance of research, evidence-based practice and the setting of research related objectives. 

Professor Lyvonne Tume and Professor Louise Connell spoke about the potential for cultural and organisational research improvements through research interest and activity and through application of evidence-based practice and Nichola Verstraelen closed the morning session with a whistle stop tour of the Matrons and Health and Social Care leaders research toolkit (aligned to the ‘releasing nurses research potential’ implementation plan within the Chief Nursing Officer for England's strategic plan for research). The morning session ended with facilitated group discussions on how to integrate research activity across organisations, lunch and networking.

Throughout the event people were encouraged to record ‘pledges’ about their plans to embed research into the core business of their organisation and post them on social media. Over 50 pledges were made throughout the day.

The afternoon session saw presentations including Professor Ruth Endacott introducing two of the North West’s Senior research leaders, Kirsty Marshall and Karen Palmer, who described the progress they have made in supporting a shift of research awareness and activity to clinical practice and Nichola Verstraelen on the Matrons and Health and Social Care leaders research toolkit.

Professor Ruth Endacott closed the event by thanking the hosting team on social media for an ‘inspiring’ event and said: “It’s wonderful to see the direction and support from dedicated leaders as we progress research opportunities. We have great examples of proactively supporting research so let's make it happen and embed research into practice."