Engaging nurses in patient recruitment to research trials in the emergency department
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Engaging nurses in patient recruitment to research trials in the emergency department

Sarah Wait Sister, emergency department, Bristol Royal Infirmary, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the challenges of undertaking clinical research in the emergency department setting

  • To learn about various strategies that could be used to support patient recruitment to research trials

  • To consider the role of nurses in recruiting patients to clinical research

Research is essential for the implementation of evidence-based practice and can lead to improvements and innovations in care delivery. Although ultimately beneficial for patients and staff, the data collection involved in research often presents challenges, particularly in the emergency department (ED) setting.

This article describes the challenges of undertaking a feasibility trial in a city centre ED. The target research population were adult patients who presented to the ED with an issue related to opioid misuse, for example opioid overdose, injection site wounds and/or abscess, or injury sustained during opioid intoxication. Challenges experienced during this trial included a demanding work environment, ED attendees not being suitable for recruitment into research, and suspension of the trial during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The author details the strategies introduced to ensure effective patient recruitment to the trial, including nurse secondment onto the research team, offering incentives, raising awareness of the trial among ED staff and implementing flexible training. These strategies continued to be effective after a period of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2137

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

The Take-home naloxone In Multicentre Emergency settings (TIME) trial referred to in this article was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s Health Technology Assessment Programme. The trial was also sponsored by Swansea University

Wait S (2022) Engaging nurses in patient recruitment to research trials in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2137


The author would like to thank Helen Snooks, professor of health services research at Swansea University, and Rebecca Hoskins, consultant nurse and faculty strategic lead for advanced practice at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and the University of the West of England, Bristol, for their guidance in writing this article

Published online: 15 August 2022

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