Intended for healthcare professionals
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CPD modules

Guidance on pursuing a career in nursing research

Author: Tonks (Josephine) Nicola Fawcett, Corrienne McCulloch

Duration: 2 hours Last updated: 2019 Quality Assurance: Peer-reviewed Level: Qualified nurses Language: English

Course description

This module aims to explore the importance of the nurse's role in clinical research. It reflects on how nursing evolved from being almost devoid of any form of literature base to an established evidence-based profession, and examines the contribution of this knowledge to best practice.

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Learning aims and intended outcomes

  • Discuss the development of nursing as an evidence-based profession
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the research nurse in improving patient care
  • Describe the main roles and responsibilities of the clinical research nurse
  • Identify possible career pathways for nurses involved in research
  • Outline the contribution of nursing research to best practice


  • Introduction
  • Knowledge base of nursing
  • Nature of nursing research
  • Developing a career in nursing research
  • Conclusions


Tonks (Josephine) Nicola Fawcett
Professor of student learning (nurse education), Nursing Studies, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
Corrienne McCulloch
Critical care research nurse, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility NHS Lothian, and doctoral student in nursing studies, University of Edinburgh.


Please note that information provided by RCNi Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory code. All modules should currently be viewed together with available national and local Covid-19 guidelines. For advice, go to


  • Introduction
  • Knowledge base of nursing
  • Nature of nursing research
  • Developing a career in nursing research
  • Conclusions

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