How Scotland’s NMAHP-RU became a world leading research centre.
By Professor Suzanne Hagen, Innovation in NMAHP Interventions Programme Director at NMAHP Research Unit.
Scotland continues to face significant challenges in poor population health due to persistent health inequalities and intergenerational deprivation. Our health and social care systems need to adapt and develop in order to respond to these challenges. Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals are the main providers of health care and are increasingly working in social care settings. There are more than five times the number of NMAHPs than there are doctors working in the NHS in Scotland: approximately 71,000 compared to 12,500.
This means that NMAHPs play a pivotal role in the delivery of key health outcomes and patient care experiences in Scotland. They work at the coalface of delivery in unscheduled, emergency, primary, community and acute care settings. They are often the early warning system for detecting health and social care decline in patients and their families or carers. It is essential that the therapeutic and caring interventions delivered by NMAHPs are evidence-based, personalised, safe, effective, efficient, and equitable. The Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (the NMAHP Research Unit) is the only Unit (in Scotland and the UK) with a unique remit to deliver this evidence base.
The NMAHP Research Unit is core funded by The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Directorate to conduct high quality applied research that enables nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to make a difference to the lives of those living in Scotland and beyond. We work with NHS staff and policy makers to make sure our research will impact on health and social care delivery. We understand the challenges faced by NHS staff in their day to day roles and in undertaking NMAHP focused research.
The NMAHP Research Unit was founded in 1994 (originally known as the Nursing Research Initiative for Scotland) and is now recognised as an internationally renowned and innovative centre of excellence for NMAHP Health and Social Care research. It provides a highly skilled and supportive multidisciplinary environment to grow research capacity & capability including the research leaders of tomorrow. The Unit is co-hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling and currently employs around 50 staff and supports approximately 30 doctorate students. We collaborate with almost every Higher Education Institution and Health Board in Scotland as well as a wide range of UK and international organisations for research, policy, advocacy and practice.
The Unit is recognised as world leading and our researchers have international reputations in the fields of:
The above clinical workstreams cross-cut our 3 substantive programmes of research:
We are engaged in around 50 projects at any one time from small scale rapid evidence synthesis for policy makers through to large scale multi-site trials running over several years. In recent years we have attracted nearly £40million worth of competitive research funding from national and international funding bodies. The research funding we obtain is used to address health priorities and patient care. The Unit publishes around 60 peer-reviewed publications per year in high impact and relevant clinical and methodological journals including The Lancet, Journal of Advanced Nursing, International Journal of Nursing Studies and The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
The following examples demonstrate some of the Unit’s recognised achievements:
Through our research we will continue to make a difference to the work of NMAHPs, the care experiences and outcomes for patients, and the healthy lives of those living in Scotland and beyond.
With thanks to Professor Suzanne Hagen, Professor Margaret Maxwell, Professor Helen Cheyne and everyone at the NMAHP-RU.