Leadership mentoring in nursing research, career development and scholarly productivity: A systematic review.
BACKGROUND The clinical research workforce within nursing is growing including those employed to lead studies, coordinate research and many hybrid roles. Several studies have reported high job satisfaction among research nurses. However, there have also been reports of limited options for career development and professional integration, likely reflecting typical informal, departmentally based management models. Institution-wide studies of issues related to research nurses are lacking, thus hampering the design and implementation of effective organisational frameworks to support and develop these positions. AIMS To explore experiences of nurses employed in research positions regarding organisational structures and support for research career pathways, and determine what reforms would strengthen an effective research specialisation pathway. METHODS A mixed-methods, cross-sectional approach, using a 104-item survey and semistructured interviews of 11 staff in research roles at an acute care hospital in Queensland, Australia. RESULTS Research nurses lack organisational support in many job aspects that they deem important. A management model for the coordination of research nurses within a health district could maximise development of this field. Academic liaison and mentoring for nurses in research, and recognition for effort, are key areas for a management model to target. CONCLUSION Nurses in research roles need individual mentorship, collective support, and the professional recognition and status that researchers in other settings are afforded. A comprehensive research management model would provide structured organisational support for nurses in research, improve professional development opportunities, ensure efficient use of human resources, synergistic working partnerships, and further contribute to a culture of evidence-based healthcare.