Article Title

Exploring the SPHERE Nursing and Midwifery Clinician Researcher Career Pathway: A qualitative study


Background: There is an urgent need to increase the research capability and capacity within the nursing and midwifery workforce, to underpin evidence-based care. Aim: To explore the perceptions of nursing service leaders and academics of the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Nursing and Midwifery Clinician Researcher Career Pathway for acceptability and utility.

Methods: Using a qualitative descriptive design, data were collected via an online focus group and one individual semi-structured interview. Content and thematic analyses were undertaken.

Findings: Data from 22 participants were included in the analyses. Most participants were female (82%), employed within Local Health Districts (LHDs) (29%), universities (24%), and both LHD and university (47%). There was strong support for the SPHERE Nursing and Midwifery Clinician Researcher Career Pathway. Four major themes were identified: (ⅰ) Current disintegration of the clinician researcher role, (ⅱ) Implementation, (ⅲ) Balancing a clinical and research role: need for protected time, and (ⅳ) Reintegration of the clinician researcher role: growing and stabilising a generation of clinician researchers.

Discussion: The SPHERE Nursing and Midwifery Clinician Researcher Career Pathway provides a unique opportunity to develop and sustain the future generation of clinician researchers. To succeed, changes to existing perceptions of clinicians, other health professionals, managers, and consumers are required. Leadership, appropriate language and messaging, and a shared vision is required from a unified professional voice. Protected research time remains the greatest challenge, requiring creative solutions that acknowledge diverse models of care


Clinical academic, Clinician researcher, Nursing, Midwifery, Qualitative

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