• To gain insight into methods of recruiting populations that are difficult to reach in qualitative research
• To understand the importance of the role of gatekeepers in recruitment
• To recognise the workload associated with collecting data in qualitative research
Background: Gatekeepers play a crucial role in successfully recruiting participants to nurse-led qualitative research, particularly in clinical settings.
Aim: To present the authors’ experience of recruiting and conducting qualitative interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic with the carers of patients who have chronic haematological malignancies, and the effects that gatekeepers had on recruitment.
Discussion: The authors had to adapt and adjust their research plan because of difficulties in accessing their target population. Establishing and maintaining relationships with gatekeepers and a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) panel was integral in successfully collecting data.
Conclusion: Ongoing reflexivity and feedback from supervisors, gatekeepers and PPI members in addition to developing research experience can help researchers to overcome challenges in recruiting difficult-to-access populations.
Implications for practice: Researchers need to be prepared for challenges to their research plans and carefully consider the options available for addressing these challenges. Reaching out to others is integral in expanding researchers’ ideas.
Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2023.e1877Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Cormican O, Dowling M (2023) Gatekeepers in research: the experience of recruiting carers of people with chronic blood cancers. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2023.e1877
Published online: 29 June 2023
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