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Leading academic says there is 'a lot to do' to grow nurse research as a discipline

More work is needed to boost the field of nurse research, says the Council of Deans of Health chair Brian Webster-Henderson.

More work is needed to boost the field of nurse research, says the Council of Deans of Health chair Brian Webster-Henderson

Brian Webster-Henderson
Council of Deans of Health chair Brian Webster-Henderson

Speaking at the Queen’s Nursing Institute conference on Tuesday, Professor Webster-Henderson said thought should be given to how to create an attractive environment to encourage nurses to pursue academia, adding that there was ‘a lot of work to do’ in growing nurse research as a discipline.

He said many people in the audience could possibly name two or three key researchers in their field of practice, but probably not ten or 20.

Pay gap

A conference delegate commented that nurses were not going into academia because they can ‘get paid more as a band 7’.

In response, Professor Webster-Henderson said: ‘Most universities will not accept a lecturer into a role now unless they have a PhD or are on their way to completing one, so that’s a challenge – how do you get people interested in these roles?’

He said Edinburgh Napier University, where he is dean of learning and teaching, allows nurses to complete degrees and remain in practice. This would assist with finances.

Professor Webster-Henderson said: ‘We have eight to ten academics on their way to completing PhDs working across practice… that is one part of the solution.’

However, he said consideration needs to be given to new terms and conditions for those pursuing academic careers, including around pensions.


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