Ekezie Ralueke Oluchukwu recently organized a well-received 2-day GRN workshop at Crystal Palace Hotel GRA Enugu 8th and 9th Nov 2017

The aim was to equip nurses with clinical research skills and thereby increase the level of research carried out by clinical research nurses in Nigeria. The workshop attracted 93 keen participants from 8 states representing about 12 hospitals, 4 nursing education institution, 5 non-governmental organizations and a few community health nurses. The workshop was moderated by Mrs Ebele Okenwa.

Mr Ralueke started by introducing www.globalresearchnurses.org as part of www.theglobalhealthnetwork.org (TGHN), an open access resource for health researchers across the globe. Aside from its online presence, TGHN also sponsors workshops such as this one through grants awarded to the core team at Oxford University, UK. The focus of workshops with nurses is on providing free opportunities for them to gain knowledge and equip them with clinical nursing research skills in Nigeria and other low and middle income countries.

Ralueke then walked participants through the process of free TGHN membership registration and how to utilize the free resources available such as online courses, a professional membership scheme, news and events, and the opportunity to network. He demonstrated a live registration process and encouraged participants to visit the registration table during the break for assistance if necessary.

Relueke then presented “An introduction to clinical nursing research”; what is clinical research nursing, who is a clinical research nurse, different types of clinical research, what differentiates a clinical research nurse from a nurse researcher and the scope of nursing research.

Mrs Hope Opara, a research lecturer at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and former Clinical Nurse at the University of Nigerian Teaching Hospital Enugu then gave an overview of the research process including details of the major steps as they relate to clinical nursing research, from formulating the research question to data analysis and interpretation of results. She concluded by informing participants they must embrace research process in order to carry out a good acceptable research work.

Mrs Onyia Pat Jane, a research supervisor and lecturer at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus followed with ‘Data analysis’, explaining the principle concepts, how to identify different variables and the different methods use to analyze them, as well as available tools. She stressed the importance of good data analysis to clinical nursing research.

Dr Elize Pietersen (the GRN coordinator from South Africa) joined the workshop virtually via Skype to discuss the scope and standard of practice of the clinical research nurse, and career pathways. She made a case for the importance of clinical research nurses to clinical research in general, the scope and standards of practice recently launched by the American Nursing Association, the TDR Global Competencies for Clinical Research (developed by TGHN), potential career pathways for nurses in clinical research, and educational requirements/qualifications required. Elize motivated nurses to get involved in clinical research as it will improve evidence based practice as well as their patients’ experiences. Questions and answers were facilitated by Mr Ralueke.

Prof. Mrs Okoronkwo (FWACN) a lecturer from the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, and former HOD of the Department of Nursing Sciences then took participants through the process of writing an acceptable research proposal from title to budgeting, highlighting the need to avoid plagiarism, and showing participants journals who accept research papers from nurses, including those that are peer reviewed and open access.

Dr Mrs Nwonu (FWACN) spoke about the characteristics and concept of mentoring, the role of a mentor, and benefits of mentorship to mentoree and a mentor, as well as the importance of mentorship to clinical nursing research as regards its growth and development. She followed this by introducing sources of funding, the process of fund applications, and organizations specifically interested in funding nursing research. She concluded by encouraging participants to look within their various organizations to find local funds, which will go a long way in starting the research process.

Over and above the excellent presentations invited by Mr Ralueke, this workshop was a springboard for the formation of a Clinical Research Nurses Network in Nigeria! Ten people from different hospitals and locations with the inclination and passion for clinical nursing research, including those who had participated in previous research workshops, were selected to represent their hospital/region They were given the mandate to spread the news about GRN and its commitment towards improving the level of clinical nursing research in Africa, and Nigeria specifically, and encourage members to register on the website. An inaugural meeting was held to develop a platform for the group to share messages easily.

Another very exciting development is a TGHN-sponsored Clinical Trials Conference being held in Lagos Nigeria in 2018, which will also be suitable for nurses.

Overall this was a dynamic and important workshop for clinical research nurses in Nigeria and there is a lot of positive scope for taking things further to sustain the gains made. Comments and questions raised will be taken on board by the organisers in conjunction with GRN, with feedback in due course

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