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Research in Action

Research in Action: Nursing and Midwifery


Nursing and midwifery research tackles concerns that affect everyone in society. Nurses and midwives fulfil a core societal need and are pivotal in providing health and social care across the lifespan from health promotion to caring for patients and their families whenever they are affected by disease, disability or the frailty of older age.

Our multi-professional research, education, public information, support and clinical care strives to identify and raise the profile of patient and family needs, and develop evidence based solutions to enduring health problems. We and colleagues in Palliative Care and Social Care lead applied health and social care research where findings are critical and directly relevant to policy, clinical practice, patients and families. We produce and advocate for high quality research to produce evidence based-impact.

Our user groups, collaborators, beneficiaries and audiences include:

  • health service providers
  • policy makers
  • intergovernmental organisations
  • national and international professional associations
  • non-governmental organisations and major charities
  • industry

The wide ranging impact of our work includes;

Policy impact:  

Our work has impacted on NHS frameworks and guidance across the lifespan and at critical junction points, for example: 

We demonstrated the issues arising from postnatal morbidity, which informed multiple guidelines: NICE guidelines: routine postnatal care (2006); intra-partum care, antenatal and postnatal mental health (2007); C Section (2011); Maternity Matters (DoH 2007);  National Service Framework (2004); Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Framework (2012).
Health and welfare impact: 

Our work has improved care for patients and families by transforming services, e.g:

  • Clinical tools to aid robust assessment and outcome evaluation in routine clinical practice and to support service development. These have fed directly into national and international policies.
  • In diabetes care, our cohort studies have shown the co-morbidity symptoms as a result of type 2 diabetes, including cognitive impairment. This resulted in the introduction, in South London, of self-care support for cognitive impairment and diabetes and glycaemic management.
Societal impact: 
Often the most vulnerable in society miss out on health and social care. Our work has raised their profile, tested solutions and improved access to care in the UK, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. In addition to our impact case studies we can provide further examples:
  • International surveys of >50,000 nurses across 12 countries demonstrated the relationship between nurse numbers and co-morbidity and mortality in acute settings and informed the Frances report and the Berwick report (2013) on quality care and patients’ safety. 
  • In many chronic illnesses and complex disabilities, our work research has found identified new ways to improve the experiences and care for people affected by cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ failure, diabetes, gastro-intestinal disease, mental distress and illness, severe brain injury and genetic diseases. 

We have developed strategic approaches of wide multi-sector partnership, innovation in research methods, active anticipation of needs and emphasis on both significance and reach.

Research in the Cicely Saunders Institute

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