New study will identify barriers to recruitment and retention of Irish research nurses and midwives

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Simone Walsh

The Health Research Board (HRB) has awarded €300,000 in funding to the Irish Research Nurses and Midwives Network (IRNM) for a project aimed at better understanding the challenges related to the recruitment and retention of research nurses and midwives across the island of Ireland.

Based at the RCSI Clinical Research Centre at Beaumont Hospital, the IRNM will explore the roles and competencies of clinical research nurses and midwives. It will report on the challenges and barriers to recruiting and retaining research nurses and midwives from the perspective of all stakeholders, develop national job description criteria with differentiated grades corresponding to competencies and skills, and recommend pathways for professional development and career progression.

Simone Walsh has been appointed to the post of IRNM Programme Manager, leading this three-year project.

Deirdre Hyland, Principal Investigator, said: “I am very excited to see this important research project begin and I welcome Simone to her role. Through engagement and collaboration with research stakeholders on the island of Ireland, and with international colleagues, we expect this project to lead to a model for research nurse and midwife employment that will finally resolve the barriers to recruitment and retention of this cohort of research staff.

“Our study will also enable a more accurate estimation of the personnel needed for research studies, and the associated costs. We welcome this opportunity to shape the future of research nurse and midwife practice in Ireland, and to contribute to the priority objective of the HRB to examine workforce roles, capacity, uncertainties and gaps, with a view to establishing enduring and sustainable clinical research staffing roles.”

Professor Fergal O’Brien, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, said: “RCSI is delighted to act as the host institution for the IRNM HRB award. Since the formation of the IRNM in 2008, RCSI staff have taken a leading role in this network. The appointment of Simone Walsh as IRNM Programme Manager is a key milestone in developing a model for recruitment and retention of core clinical research personnel to support research innovation, development and conduct nationally.”

Professor Mark Sherlock, Director, RCSI Clinical Research Centre, said: “Through the work of Deirdre Hyland, Principal Investigator on this award, the RCSI Clinical Research Centre has been a leader in research-nurse education and training for many years and we are delighted to host and support this important project. We believe clear and structured clinical research nurse and midwife professional development and career progression pathways are vital in ensuring Ireland builds and grows its ability to deliver world-class quality clinical research and we look forward to enabling this project to fulfil its objectives in the coming years.”

The Irish Research Nurses and Midwives Network was established in 2008 to support the educational and professional needs of clinical research nurses and midwives in Ireland.

The previous Count Me In study from the Irish Research Nurses and Midwives Network can be read here

To learn more about this project, contact Simone Walsh.