Editorial

Bridging the theory-practice gap

Compared with clinically focused units, research coursework is often viewed negatively and demonstrating its relevance to students can be challenging for nurse academics (Halcomb and Peters 2009).

Compared with clinically focused units, research coursework is often viewed negatively and demonstrating its relevance to students can be challenging for nurse academics (Halcomb and Peters 2009).

Students entering research for the first time are faced with a new language, a barrage of terminology and the conceptual complexities of philosophy, ontology, epistemology and methodology.

In clinical nursing, students engage in practical learning, where they can apply their theoretical knowledge to the clinical situation or a simulated scenario.

In research education, students must conduct literature reviews, critically appraise the literature or develop project plans; they rarely have the opportunity to engage in real-life research experiences. This represents a gap where they are not able to apply their knowledge and test their understandings.

Nurse academics must find ways to give students opportunities to engage in the excitement and energy of real-world research, in turn generating new nursing knowledge. This is best achieved by positioning students in existing research teams where they can follow the research process and be mentored by skilled researchers.

Nurse academics must find ways to give students opportunities to engage in the excitement of real-world research

Concurrently, nurse researchers face increasing pressure from universities to grow research output. This can often only be achieved by strengthening or growing research teams. Given the difficulties in recruiting research staff with a nursing background, using nursing students seeking a research placement may be a viable approach to growing the team.

Nurse Researcher is keen to receive papers describing innovative models being used in clinical or tertiary settings to bridge the theory-practice gap in research education, or other innovations in research training for nurses and healthcare professionals. By sharing these models we can open the debate about research education and share ideas and strategies for enhancing the experience.

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.