A medal that shows how far nurse research has come

Nurses should seek opportunities to showcase the quality work being done by nurse researchers in all areas of practice

Picture: iStock

I was humbled recently when the Australasian Association of Academic Primary Care awarded me its Bridges-Webb medal for 2019 ‘in recognition of a significant contribution to the academic environment of primary care research to an international competitive standard’.

I am proud of this personal achievement, and it has caused me to reflect on how far nursing research has come and the growing impact it has on healthcare and patient outcomes. It is the first time that this award has been presented to a nurse, previous recipients having been doctors and a psychologist-health services researcher.

When I started my PhD in primary care nursing, general practice nurses were identified as an emerging trend in Australia, and they presented an opportunity for someone other than GPs to collect data in general practice trials.

Let’s articulate the story of our contribution and its impact

In various clinical settings, nurses have played an important role in data collection over many years. This is an important role and one that makes a significant practical contribution to new knowledge by facilitating research to occur. Historically, however, many of these nurses have not been well recognised as members of the research team and may not have had the opportunity to participate in overall project activities.

This award recognises that primary care nurses are now undertaking research in multidisciplinary teams and leading projects and research programmes to an international standard commensurate with other health professionals. With the Nursing Now campaign, concerted efforts are being made to raise the profile and status of nursing worldwide.

It is timely for all nurses to actively seek opportunities to showcase the quality work being done by nurse researchers in all areas of practice. Sometimes we think that others must see the contribution of nurses and nursing research. This is not always the case. We need to ensure that the story of our contribution and its impact is clearly articulated to relevant stakeholders if we want our voice to be heard.

Liz Halcomb is editor of Nurse ResearcherLiz Halcomb is editor of Nurse Researcher