Community nursing team shares their first research experience | News

Community nursing team shares their first research experience

Area Nursing Manager Nicola Zolnhofer has published an article for the Royal College of Nursing highlighting her team’s experience of their first community research study.

The Cambridgeshire community nursing teams (pictured with Nicola, centre) helped to explore how the Support Needs Approach for Patients (SNAP) intervention can be used to support older people living at home. Nicola was invited to write the article for the RCNi journal Primary Health Care to explain the benefits and challenges of participating in the research process and why community nurses should be supported to engage in research.

The full article is available online here with a RCNi Plus subscription

Nicola said: “The nurses who took part gave positive feedback about the experience and had a clear sense of the benefits of this study to empower their patients. If a research study is chosen well, it can fit in with the daily workload and routine assessments whilst also enhancing clinical practice. Nurses need to be supported to find time for research and identify questions that are relevant to their practice area, to help build evidence for community nursing. Regular communication with researchers is essential to maintain momentum and fully engage nurses in the research process.

"CPFT’s Windsor Research Unit were really supportive throughout both studies I have been involved in, and made every stage run smoothly with specialist advice and guidance available at all times. Following this experience, my colleagues are interested in developing their research skills with education and training. They can also pass on the knowledge they have gained to other teams - as I did when I joined the district nursing team, after doing research with CPFT’s community respiratory service!”

Providing care closer to home is a major focus for the NHS, and more research is needed in community nursing to support evidence-based practice in this area. It is essential that nurses can contribute to this evidence by participating in research, which can improve team engagement and support continuous quality improvement to benefit patient care.

CPFT’s Research and Development Director Dr Ben Underwood said:
“Our district nurses provide a vital service, so it is terrific to see research developing with them and great to hear that Nicola and her team have had such a good experience. We want to offer more studies in community healthcare and make sure that every patient and member of staff in CPFT has the chance to take part in research for the best possible care. We hope to work with many more nurses in all our services and encourage all healthcare professionals to consider suitable research opportunities to improve care and treatment, to benefit people they care for now - as well as future generations.”

CPFT nurses who are interested in participating in studies or offering research opportunities in their services can contact the Trust’s Windsor Research Unit on or call 01223 219531.

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