• To gain an insight into clinical research from the point of view of the researcher
• To understand that carrying out nursing research can be emotionally traumatic
• To learn strategies and tactics to improve self-care when undertaking sensitive research
Background Nursing research is usually carried out by registered nurses with some experience of practice. However, nurses may find that the role of the nurse researcher is very different from that of the practising clinical nurse and has its own challenges.
Aim To explore the differences between the two roles and offer some guidance to nurses carrying out qualitative research, particularly research into sensitive topics.
Discussion Nurses need to be aware of various issues that could affect their ability to carry out nursing research and be emotionally traumatic.
Conclusion There is a general need for greater awareness about the potential risks of carrying out qualitative research into sensitive topics.
Implications for practice Nurse researchers must consider self-care when planning a research project, assessing their role, personality, background, personal experiences and stress triggers, and ensuring peer and supervisory support, reflection and a healthy lifestyle.
Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2020.e1741Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
McCallum K, Jackson D, Walthall et al (2020) Self-care while undertaking qualitative nursing research. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2020.e1741
Published online: 08 October 2020
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