54 registered nurses representing several Southern African countries attended a capacity building workshop at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town which was held in the afternoon after a morning workshop given by the EQUATOR Network. The audience included clinical research nurses, clinical nurse practioners, nurse administrators and educators, from public and private nursing organisations. Attendees were introduced to the vision and mission of The Global Health Network (TGHN), and Global Research Nurses (GRN) in particular, and its available open-access web-based resources and networking opportunities. A global competency framework for clinical research developed by TGHN on behalf of WHO-TDR was discussed, as this could serve as a foundation from which to establish standards of practice for clinical research nursing in low and middle income countries. In addition, a newly published book by the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) about The scope and standards for clinical research nursing was highlighted as this signifies that the ANA now recognises clinical research nursing as a soeciality nursing practice in their region.
From the discussion, it was clear that clinical research nurses are confronted with a variety of factors contributing to job dissatisfaction and a desire to be recognised for their experience and valuable contribution to clinical research. They spoke at length on how they feel disempowered, that they have a skills set that is not utilised to the fullest and about their passionate contribution to research. Study coordinators, for instance, expressed frustration about not being part of discussions regarding new protocols or changes / challenges regarding studies in progress and that their experience is that they are merely told to execute plans of action discussed by the rest of the research team. The group were so empowered to help each other find workable solutions, representatives stepped forward from Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia to take discussions forward. Meanwhile, existing GRN members were newly inspired to engage with the various resources on TGHN and others were motivated to engage with these resources. Networking during the workshop also led to planning of a research capacity building workshop for Zambia in 2018.