Assessment of health research capacity in western sydney local health district (WSLHD): A study on medical, nursing and allied health professionals

Sharon A. Lee, Karen Byth, Janelle A. Gifford, Madhan Balasubramanian, Carolyn A. Fozzard, Tony Skapetis, Victoria M. Flood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Research should inform clinical decision-making and evidence-based practice for all health professionals. To build research capacity among all health professionals, there is a need to measure the levels of research capacity and identify the gaps and needs of healthcare professionals. The aim of the study was to better understand the research culture and capacity of health professionals (medical, nursing and allied health) in Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, Australia. Methods: A research capacity and culture tool (RCCT) survey was electronically distributed to all health staff in WSLHD. Data were collected between November 2016 and January 2017. Participants were surveyed through a 10-point Likert scale that measured research capacity at the individual, team and organisational levels. Results: A total of 393 health staff responded to the study: allied health practitioners (46.3%), nursing staff (35.4%) and medical practitioners (18.3%). Females made 76% of the sample, and 54% were aged between 35 and 54 years. Individual responses were different across professions, with an average median score for medical 6.3 (95% CI 5.8–6.9), allied health 5.3 (95% CI 4.9–5.7) and nursing 4.5 (95% CI 4.1–5.0) after adjustment for age and gender. Team responses for medical staff (average median score 5.9 95% CI 5.3–6.4) were higher than allied health (4.1 95% CI 3.7–4.6) and nursing (4.3 95% CI 3.8–4.8), after adjusting for age and gender. However, there were no differences between the three professions for the organisational responses. Allied health and nursing staff were less confident in obtaining research funding, submitting ethics applications, writing for publication and mentoring colleagues about research. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the individual research capacity for medical, allied health and nursing professionals are different. Research capacity building needs to be individually tailored to the specific needs of each profession. This research will inform future capacity building activities and training for health professionals in a large public health organisation of Sydney, Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-163
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lee et al.


  • research capacity building
  • health professionals
  • future health systems


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