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Developing R&D capacity in primary care nursing: report of a research project

  • Stephen Abbott (a1) and Caroline Gunnell (a2)

The East London and Essex Network of Researchers (ELENoR) funded a project to develop R&D capacity among practice nurses. The ELENoR nurses forum chose the topic, which was ‘Older people’s experiences of primary care’, using qualitative interviews as the main method. The project was designed to enable nurses to participate as much or as little as suited their individual circumstances, and whatever their previous R&D experience. Compulsory training was provided, and ELENoR paid for all the time which was given to the project, travel expenses incurred and so on. This paper reviews the project, drawing on oral and written communications by participants and the personal experience of the authors.

Nine nurses from eight practices carried out 58 interviews, and four collaborated in the analysis. Those participating report a number of outcomes. Their own confidence in their ability to do research has increased; the work enabled them to reflect on their practice and to make changes (e.g., to how they provide health education to those with diabetes; making appropriate referrals to specialist services); and as a result of the participating nurses’ report, her practice team is reviewing particular aspects of how diabetes is managed. Two papers reporting the findings have been submitted for publication, one of which is published, and papers have been presented at national and international conferences.

The project represents a successful small-scale capacity building exercise achieved at a modest cost.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Stephen Abbott, Research Fellow, Public Health and Primary Care Unit, St Bartholomew’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, City University, Philpot Street, London E1 2EA, UK. Email:
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Primary Health Care Research & Development
  • ISSN: 1463-4236
  • EISSN: 1477-1128
  • URL: /core/journals/primary-health-care-research-and-development
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