Five questions were asked to facilitate the chat but the themes that emerged were recurring across the discussion for all questions. Therefore this in depth look at the tweet chat summarises the discussion as a whole, rather than by question.
NMAHP research being a normal, expected part of everyday practice and achieving this as a culture is important.
NMAHP research must be visible, shared and everyone’s business
Making NMAHP research activity, findings and changes to practice visible, and ‘everybody’s business’, is needed. There is work to do with helping others to understand research and clinical academic careers at healthcare organisations and higher education institutes.
Sharing examples of NMAHP research activity and improvements to practice/outcomes might help others see how involvement with research is exciting, relevant and accessible. Having NMAHP researchers leading the way and seeing outputs and impact from research has helped to demonstrate what NMAHP research is about and to get involved.
Collaborating, forming partnerships, networks and teams are essential. Collaborations need to be between organisations, patients, researchers, clinicians, the multidisciplinary team and management. Doing research alone is not effective or realistic.
Examples of collaboration given included:
- Clinicians working with students.
- Engaging patients to promote research.
- Working on others’ research to demonstrate NMAHP value.
- Joint roles across healthcare and higher education institutes.
- Higher education institutes delivering research training that clinicians can access.
Support and good communication within and between all levels of an organisation, including those setting targets for the organisation, higher management, managers and NMAHP researchers and clinicians, are required for NMAHP research. Understanding the challenges at all levels is needed.
Examples given included:
- Exploring managers’ concerns and helping them to find solutions.
- Managers and NMAHPs working together to develop a research strategy.
- Recruiting staff into research has shown commitment from the organisation.
- Managers supporting staff with protected time to apply for research funds.
- Research objectives for the organisation.
- Communicating with senior management to find out the standards they refer to and help them to link these to research.
Setting a vision and developing a strategy to improve research capacity is helpful to get started. The challenges come from implementing the strategy to make it happen, which is vital. Small steps or starting small may help.
Formal and informal support
The importance of including NMAHP research formally was recommended, e.g. in job descriptions and at appraisal. However it is a challenge to define the clinical academic role due to the diversity of skills, experience and routes into these roles. Having a model for NMAHP research, similar to doctors’ academic clinical fellowship pathway, was suggested. Informal interactions with NMAHP clinicians are also helpful to start communications and help them understand the clinical NMAHP research role.
Early exposure to research
Exposing NMAHP clinicians to research early in their careers, for example when they are training, newly qualified or new to an organisation, may help to grow a research culture, help understand where to start and stimulate passion for research early.
Protected time for clinicians to develop their research skills and ideas, and protected clinical time for researchers is needed.
Demonstrate the benefits
It can be a challenge to demonstrate the benefits of NMAHP research as it is part of holistic multidisciplinary care and improving outcomes from research can be a lengthy process. In clinical practice the answer to a problem is desired immediately and often this is not possible with research.
Examples of how the benefits of NMAHP research could be demonstrated included:
- Capturing short-term benefits, such as patient satisfaction.
- Keeping research focused on improving outcomes.
- Show how patient focused NMAHP research is.
- Demonstrate benefits of the NMAHP researcher role.
- The impact of NMAHP research on staff retention and satisfaction.
- Equipment can be funded from grants.
The qualities of a NMAHP researcher
The qualities of a good NMAHP researcher emerged from the chat:
- Creative and having vision.
- Tenacious and persistent.
- Courageous, advocate and leaders.
- Visible and approachable.