Clinical academic research internships for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals: a qualitative evaluation

Miller, Colette orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0620-6029, Cook, Julie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6391-5430, Gibson, Josephine orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3051-1237, Watkins, Caroline Leigh orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9403-3772 and Jones, Stephanie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9149-8606 (2021) Clinical academic research internships for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals: a qualitative evaluation. Nurse Researcher, 29 (1). ISSN 1351-5578

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Background: Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are integral to research, yet rarely engage simultaneously in research and clinical practice. Clinical academic internships offer a route to access academic research training. This study aimed to elucidate facilitators and barriers to participation and engagement, and suggest improvements for future programmes. Method: The experiences of 10 health professional research interns were explored, using a method based on a synthesis between grounded theory and content analysis. Findings: Four categories emerged: 1) integrating clinical and research aspirations; 2) Support – or lack of it; 3) The hidden curriculum; 4) The legacy effect. Within these categories, respondents identified a variety of facilitators and barriers to engagement, including unforeseen challenges. Conclusion: Formal support is necessary but not sufficient to foster engagement and maximise benefits. Participation must be supported by colleagues and enabled by institutional structures. The potential impact of internships on engagement with research is considerable but requires collaboration between all stakeholders. Implications for Practice: Deeper institutional engagement is needed so that internship opportunities are fully supported by all colleagues and practically enabled by institutional structures. Future schemes should attempt to promote opportunities to collaborate via group projects to reduce researcher isolation.

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