The Council of Deans has released a report affirming the value of research placements for students. As a research nurse, this is something that doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve seen first hand the value of working directly with students who are on a placement with the clinical research team – and it works both ways by the way, it’s not just the student that benefits.
I’m particularly interested, however, in the release of the report at this time. A time where research has played a key role in the pandemic and I wonder if it signals a shift in how research is perceived and valued as an area of healthcare in itself.
So, why should we be encouraging placements in research. Well, as the report states:
“Learning about research is not only relevant for those who want to work in clinical research or who may
be interested in an academic career, but to every single healthcare professional. It is vital in understanding
what good practice is – students need to recognise why they are doing things not just how to do them.”
A few years ago, a placement with a research team may have signaled anxiety, concern, and dismay from a student. I know because I have seen it many times over on twitter and anecdotally in practice. The brave and curious completed their placement, and feedback from those students I’ve personally encountered has been very positive. But I think the success of the placement relies very heavily on the planning of the placement and this takes commitment and creativity on behalf of the clinical research team who is working with the student.
In more recent times I’ve noticed a change and an interest in research – and not just since the pandemic. I’ve written before about how research has historically been viewed as a bit of an “add on” – I’m hoping that with the changes we’ve seen over the past year and the narrative we see more generally within our profession are indicating a shift. It will be interesting to see if it will be an area that has it’s value firmly embedded for the part it plays in providing high quality patient care.