The performance of nursing in the research stakes: Lessons from the field

Donna Mead, Laurie Moseley, Richard Cook

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There have been many complaints in recent years that nursing research has not developed as fully as it should have, together with a suggested explanation that this is largely due to a lack of success in obtaining funding. This lack of success has been attributed to a domination of funding bodies by doctors, who, it is claimed, do not understand or value nursing research. We have examined such claims in two ways. First, a brief historical overview shows that, although there is still a way to go, nursing research has, in recent years, produced useful information, and that this refutes the idea that it is completely undeveloped. Second, a report on a case study on the progress of 217 grant applications to a regional R&D office in the UK challenges the suggested explanation. The limited number of funded proposals from nurses was not due to medical prejudice. Rather it was due to very few nurses putting forward proposals and to many of those proposals being withdrawn voluntarily, usually after the receipt of insensitively-worded referees' commentaries. When nursing proposals were pursued vigorously, they received higher scientific ratings than medical-led proposals, and were, proportionately, more likely to gain funding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1997


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