Background Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are integral to research, yet rarely engage simultaneously in research and clinical practice. Clinical academic internships offer a route for accessing academic research training.
Aim To determine facilitators and barriers to nurses’ participation and engagement in research internships, and to suggest improvements for future programmes.
Discussion The experiences of ten health professional research interns were explored, using a method based on a synthesis between grounded theory and content analysis. Four categories emerged: integrating clinical and research aspirations; support – or lack of it; the hidden curriculum; and the legacy effect. Respondents identified facilitators and barriers to engagement in these categories, including unforeseen challenges.
Conclusion Formal support is necessary but is insufficient for fostering engagement and maximising benefits. Participation must be supported by colleagues and enabled by institutional structures. The potential effects of internships on engagement with research is considerable but requires collaboration between all stakeholders.
Implications for practice Deeper institutional engagement is needed so that internship opportunities are fully supported by all colleagues and practically enabled by institutional structures. Future schemes should attempt to promote opportunities to collaborate through group projects to reduce researchers’ isolation.
Nurse Researcher. 28, 3, 16-23. doi: 10.7748/nr.2020.e1724Correspondence
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated softwareConflict of interest
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