Building research capacity in the nursing workforce: The design and evaluation of the nurse researcher role

Raymond Chan, Glenn Gardner, Joan Webster, Alanna Geary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The Nurse Researcher Project (NRP) was initiated to support development of a nursing research and evidence based practice culture in Cancer Care Services (CCS) in a large tertiary hospital in Australia. The position was established and evaluated to inform future directions in the organisation. Background: The demand for quality cancer care has been expanding over the past decades. Nurses are well placed to make an impact on improving health outcomes of people affected by cancer. At the same time, there is a robust body of literature documenting the barriers to undertaking and utilising research by and for nurses and nursing. A number of strategies have been implemented to address these barriers including a range of staff researcher positions but there is scant attention to evaluating the outcomes of these strategies. The role of nurse researcher has been documented in the literature with the aim to provide support to nurses in the clinical setting. There is, to date, little information in relation to the design, implementation and evaluation of this role. Design: The Donabedian's model of program evaluation was used to implement and evaluate this initiative. Methods The 'NRP' outlined the steps needed to implement the nurse researcher role in a clinical setting. The steps involved the design of the role, planning for the support system for the role, and evaluation of outcomes of the role over two years. Discussion: This paper proposes an innovative and feasible model to support clinical nursing research which would be relevant to a range of service areas. Conclusion: Nurse researchers are able to play a crucial role in advancing nursing knowledge and facilitating evidence based practice, especially when placed to support a specialised team of nurses at a service level. This role can be implemented through appropriate planning of the position, building a support system and incorporating an evaluation plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer care
  • Capacity building
  • Evidence based practice
  • Nurse researcher
  • Nursing research


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