Are you up for the nursing research challenge in 2024?

The RCN International Research Conference focused on strengthening connections between nursing research and clinical practice and this should be our future goal

A figure staring intently through a telescope stands on top of a sign with arrows pointing in four different directions, this symbolises future goals
Picture: iStock

In September, I was delighted to be able to attend the RCN International Research Conference in Manchester and to spend time with the international community of nurse researchers. There is always something new to learn, be it a new topic idea, a different way of approaching research or engaging in a methodological debate. Just the chance to talk to other nurses about what they are doing is a great way to refocus and refresh your own thinking.

Under the theme ‘Embedding a culture of research in nursing’, presentations focused on strengthening the connections between nursing research and clinical nursing practice. Building research capacity in the clinical setting and embedding evidence into practice were also strong themes.

Nurses should be continuously thinking creatively about their work

However, limited collaboration between nurse academics/universities and nurses working in clinical settings meant missed opportunities.

As a profession, we are stronger because of the breadth and depth of our expertise across clinical and academic settings. We must not fall into the trap of siloing nurses into either clinical or academic posts but rather work in collaboration to optimise the quality and impact of our research and professions’ contribution to healthcare.

If one key message emerged from the conference’s main speakers, it was the need for nurses to be continuously thinking creatively about how they can build, enhance, or optimise their work.

What can you or your research team do differently in 2024?

As we come to the end of 2023, I challenge you to think about what you as an individual, and perhaps your research team as a group, could do differently in the new year.

Could you build the way in which you incorporate co-design in your research? Could you enhance an intervention by incorporating an innovation? Could you optimise your research environment by changing the system to reduce a barrier? Could you just start the discussion and critically review your research and its trajectory?

I look forward to hearing about your research at the 2024 RCN International Research Conference in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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