Neonatal nursing led research activity in the UK: a survey of current practice

Katie Gallagher, Julia Petty, Joanne Cooper, Neil Marlow

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Abstract: Background: Neonatal nurses are ideally placed in practice to undertake research enhancing the care of families. More information is required, however, around neonatal nursing led research to advance leadership in this area. The aim of this study was to determine neonatal nursing led research activity within the UK. Methods: The study used a web-based survey design and neonatal nurses were eligible if they were working at or towards Masters or Doctoral level qualification in the UK. The survey was distributed to members of the Neonatal Nurses Association, UK Schools of Nursing and shared on social media pages of authors and professional organisations. Results were analysed using descriptive and frequency statistics and content analysis. Results: Of the 56 respondents, 14% (n = 8) had a Doctoral level qualification and 43% (n = 24) of participants held a Masters qualification. Lack of time and funding knowledge was the largest barrier to research. Only 30% (n = 3) of participants had a research mentor and only 18% (n = 3) were from a neonatal nursing background. Conclusions: There are limited numbers of neonatal nurses undertaking or leading nursing research in the UK. Further support is required to enhance clinical academic career trajectories to ensure research is a viable pathway for future generations of neonatal nurses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number201
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Nursing
Issue number1
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021


  • Research
  • Neonatal nursing
  • Nursing research
  • Nursing education
  • Clinical academic careers


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