Firstly, an almost overwhelming opportunity to be in a room with more than 50 research nurses, a category of nursing which has developed independently as clinical research groups have grown in the Western Cape.
Paula Darroch described her experiences as a nurse involved in research in the UK, which was almost comforting as you realised our challenges and triumphs were so similar. Research nurses in South Africa and Cape Town in particular would benefit from more interaction with research nurses based in Africa and further afield. Sharing ideas, experiences, challenges, offering support and keeping each other informed of educational opportunities would be a valuable asset for the future. This workshop was a good place to start, establishing an active network group whose role would be to kick-start this process.
The interactive session held with the nurses proved to encourage good communication about how they perceived their roles as research nurses. Challenges included inadequate working environment due to adhoc infrastructure, management who are not nurses and sometimes have little insight into the “nursing” aspect of the role. Many were challenged by the contract nature of the research nursing work, which has not kept abreast with financial incentives within the nursing sector in South Africa resulting in nursing earning uncompetitive salaries. Nurses however remain within the research nursing as they prefer working better hours and enjoy being part of the discoveries made in the medical research field. They enjoy being part of new ideas and having opportunities to investigate diseases on interest. The general feeling was that they should meet more often to network and learn from each other.
The session on informed consent, which is the corner stone of research offered lively debate and discussion. Nurses experiences from hospital based research, community clinic based research, rural based research and research within NGOs all used different approaches when obtaining IFC. The process of sharing information could be the beginning of a forum for discussion and learning, these forums once established could be the platform of nursing specific discussions like team management, study co-ordination, quality control, data management and presentation skills.
Finally, the group was introduced to and encouraged to register on the Global Research Nurses website. The nurses welcomed the idea of a web-based platform as a forum for furthering research capacity as well as sharing tools and experiences. It is the vision of the Global Health Trials’ South African faculty that meaningful dialogue will be continued through this platform among the research nurse community.
I am delighted to be part of this forum. Nurses put in their best in service delivery but are lacking behind in clinical research. Without research, there is no evidence based nursing practice. I hope more Nurses will embrace Nursing Research, through this, we will be able to scientifically justify nursing care.Attached files: IMG_20171019_124642.jpg