In my last post I said that over the coming weeks I would introduce a model I have been working on outlining activities which can be undertaken by healthcare professionals working in clinical practice who want to develop their understanding of, engagement with and entry into the health research community. Well, today is the start of this journey.
I want to preface what follows with an acknowledgement of the fundamental importance of formal academic study to the development of research skills and expertise and the centrality of clinical academic pathways to the leadership of health research and improvement of patient care. On a personal level I have obtained a PhD and supervised healthcare professionals working towards Masters and Doctoral level qualifications.
However as a clinician, and in my many meetings with clinicians, I know that so much can be done outside of academia to engage with research especially for those who see themselves as emergent health researchers, i.e. those starting to explore the world of research. This is one of my main motivations for developing this model. I want to encourage you to think beyond a sole focus on ‘doing’ research, to explore different aspects of what it means to be a researcher and to consider the range of activities which can be developed and built upon within your everyday clinical practice.
I have written before about the need to develop a composite story for research within the NHS which broadens our thinking about what it means to be involved in health research and creates a more inclusive view of how healthcare professionals with differing levels of skills, expertise and interest can engage with research. I hope this model contributes to this discussion.
If you travel this journey with me over the next few weeks I will really encourage you think about your role in delivering the NHS constitutional commitment to the promotion, conduct and use of research, to explore the breadth of the research community and to increase your understanding of the wide range of resources available outside of academia to support the development of research expertise. For example, last week WeAHPs hosted a twitter chat on research the storify of the chat can be found here and a free MOOC is currently taking place on Future Learn on Improving Health Care Through Clinical Research.
All of the activities outlined in the model are central to being a part of the health research community and so with that in mind here is an overview of the emergent EPIC model.
Structure: The model comprises two concentric circles. The outer circle can be seen as fundamental activities which can, and in the case of promoting and implementing research, should be engaged with by all healthcare professionals working within the NHS. The inner circle represents activities which can be engaged with by those wishing to build and develop their engagement with research.
Individual components: There are seven components to the model which comprise
Explore to develop and increase your understanding of the health research community
Promote opportunities to engage with research to service users at every opportunity
Implement evidence informed practice and consolidate and extend your expertise in critical appraisal and evidence synthesis
Communicate your interest in research to your line manager, colleagues involved in research and your wider clinical team
Advance your skills and expertise in research through formal and informal personal development
Champion research within your clinical team and profession
Engage strategically to develop relationships and potential collaborations in the area of research you are interested in.
Over the next seven posts I will focus on the individual components of the model and explore them in detail. I will expand on what they mean, why they are important and the skills and expertise you will develop by engaging with them.
I see this as a process of working out loud and so if, as the model unfolds, you have any comments or observations I would love to hear from you.