A research nurse with a patient who is giving blood

Today the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has launched a new campaign to attract nurses and midwives who are nearing retirement, returning from a career break, or seeking a career change to consider clinical research as an opportunity to ‘keep making a difference’.

The campaign follows a recent survey conducted by the NIHR which revealed that over half of nurses and midwives surveyed may be seeking new career opportunities. Understaffed wards and unsociable shifts were some of the most commonly cited reasons for seeking change.

NHS Digital figures show one in ten nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, with more than 33,000 leaving last year. Despite this, the research showed that many of these would be prepared to keep making a difference if the right opportunity was made available.

The NIHR campaign invites nurses in this position to consider clinical research as an option, and will offer one-to-one support to help them take their existing skills and transfer them into a research role. It aims to reach over 1,000 nurses and midwives across London and Kent Surrey and Sussex, and seeks to invite up to 50 of these professionals to shadow a research team for a day to gain an insight into what it’s like to work in research.

Emmanuel, a research nurse, talks to patients about taking part in trials.

Dr Susan Hamer, Director of Nursing at the National Institute for Health Research said: “With more patients than ever before accessing research trials, now is the perfect time for a campaign such as this. Research teams are in demand across the country and we need more research nurses and midwives to support these teams and give great clinical care.

“All employers know the importance of improving the retention of staff and making improvements at a local level to reduce the number of nurses leaving is a high priority for every NHS organisation. The NIHR is a significant funder of staff to support clinical research across the NHS and it is important that we play an active role in supporting these efforts.

“Clinical research nursing is a new and rapidly expanding branch of nursing and our new campaign is all about encouraging nurses and midwives who may not know about or have even considered clinical research as an area they would like to work in, to come and take a look.”

For more information, including how to apply to shadow a research team for a day, visit the NIHR website.

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