Nursing research and evidence underpinning policy dialogue and system transformation

Central to the nursing profession leading transformational change is the use of evidence-based practice. Nursing practice is responding to ongoing and rapidly changing patient and staff need and underpinning these changes with research and evidence in policy making is crucial.

Detailed consideration and examination of practice, which although previously understood as important and key to the delivery of care, has now become more formally embedded in everyday operational processes.

To help develop, support and embed this way of working, we are currently developing the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s (CNO) national strategy for supporting, developing and embedding research (2020-2022). The strategy runs concurrently with our commitment to ensuring that the important contribution of nursing academia is fully recognised and supported as being integral to the success of transformation.

The CNO’s strategy will ensure that nursing research and evidence helps drive policy and underpins system transformation. Ensuring the leadership of the profession to the achievement of Long-Term Plan ambitions, and importantly to the relevant COVID-19 legacy work.

To realise these ambitions, we will continue to work collaboratively with a wide range of our partners and stakeholders to help address the importance of nursing research and the use of findings across the system. We will further develop the previous work undertaken 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. The research studies showcased in the portfolio are not representative of all nursing, midwifery and care staff research, but offer a cross sectional overview of studies that demonstrate practice and research leadership and impact at diverse research expertise levels.

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 earlier this year 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 is also being 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 england.researchcno@nhs.net to ensure that you are kept up to date and aware of any upcoming opportunities.