Nursing research and evidence underpinning practice, policy and system transformation

Evidence-based practice is central to the nursing profession leading transformational change. If nursing practice is to respond to rapidly changing patient and staff need. Underpinning these changes with research and evidence is crucial.

Our commitment

We are currently developing the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s (CNO) national strategic plan for supporting, developing and embedding research. The strategy runs concurrently with our commitment to ensuring the contribution of nursing leadership in research is fully recognised and supported as being integral to the success

National nursing research portfolio

To realise these ambitions, we will work collaboratively with a wide range of partners and stakeholders to help address the importance of research in nursing and the use of findings across the system. We will develop further the work undertaken previously with the Council of Deans of Health and academic colleagues in building a national nursing research portfolio, which sets out a collection of research studies that demonstrate the impact and contribution that nursing, midwifery and care staff can make to transforming health and care. Throughout the pandemic research has made an unprecedented contribution to efforts to the tackle virus and its consequences and improve healthcare decision making.

Future research priorities

In conjunction with our commitment to research and evidence, we will collectively identify areas where longer-term research may be needed to understand the impacts on professional practice as part of our response to the pandemic. This will provide nurse-led insight and evidence to inform a strategic approach to research priorities and the development of the CNO for England’s national strategic plan for supporting, developing and embedding research. The Chief Nursing Officer’s Professional Shared Decision Making Council– Research will play an important role in considering areas in need of further research.

Further resources

We will continue to work alongside the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and build on work such as ‘Leading the acceleration of evidence into practice; a guide for executive nurses’, which we published in 2020 in partnership with the NIHR Dissemination Centre.

Colleagues may also be aware of the Collective leadership atlas of shared learning, where case studies from the professions provide quantifiable evidence of how change has been led by identifying and addressing unwarranted variation in practice to improve outcomes, experience and use of resources. A Nursing and midwifery COVID-19 catalogue of change was also developed to complement these evidence-based collections, sharing recent practice experiences and innovations at the point of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurse-led practice has been at the centre of the national COVID-19 response and we want to ensure we learn from this and use those experiences to inform our work going forwards.

If you would like to get involved in the CNO’s research strategy work, then please contact to ensure that you are kept up to date and aware of any upcoming opportunities.