Research teaching in learning disability nursing: Exploring the views of student and registered learning disability nurses

Ruth Northway, Michelle Parker, Neil James, Lynsey Davies, Kaye Johnson, Sally Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whilst there is a need to develop the research base within learning disability nursing it is also significant that currently there is little published data as to how research is taught to this group of nurses.

To increase understanding of how research is currently taught to learning disability nurses within the UK.

A survey design was used.

The research was undertaken at a conference held in the UK in March 2014.

310 learning disability nurses attending the conference of which 212 completed the free text question. This comprised student nurses (n = 158), registered nurses working in practice settings (n = 25) and registered nurses working in educational institutions (n = 24). Five participants did not specify their background.

Participants were invited to complete a questionnaire that included a free text question regarding the teaching of research to learning disability nurses: it is the responses to this question that are reported in this paper. Responses were transcribed and thematically analysed.

Eight themes emerged: Teaching approach - the good and the bad; finding the right level; right from the start; we need more time; generic versus specialist; there's not enough; getting research into practice; and what should we focus on?

Variations exist in terms of the timing of research education, the teaching approaches used, and hence the quality of student experience. Of particular concern is the apparent gap between research teaching and the use of research in practice, and the reported lack of support for research within practice settings. However, enthusiasm for research is evident and hence recommendations are made both to enhance teaching and to strengthen links with practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1160
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Evidence based nursing
  • Learning disability
  • Nursing education
  • Research


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