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Research engagement by British early-career practitioners in nephrology: A multidisciplinary survey

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Neil SheerinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Objectives: To establish barriers and motivators underlying research engagement amongst early-career practitioners in nephrology across the United Kingdom, in order to guide potential interventions to enhance research involvement in renal units. Design: Cross-sectional online survey employing a range of free-text, Likert scale and binomial/multiple-choice responses, distributed via mailing lists and social media. Topics covered research experience, research involvement and barriers, impact of COVID19 and strategies to improve research engagement. Thematic analysis was used to assess free-text responses. Setting: Renal units throughout the United Kingdom. Participants: Non-consultant healthcare staff self-identifying as working in nephrology were included (n=211), with responses from non-UK respondents or consultant nephrologists excluded (n=12). Results: Responses were received from across the multidisciplinary team (physicians (n=83), nurses (n=83) and other allied health professionals (n=45). Most were aware of ongoing local research, but under half were actively involved. Multivariate analysis indicated employment as a physician, protected time for research activity and provision of appropriate training were associated with greater research experience and output. There was general enthusiasm to undertake research, but perceived barriers included insufficient staffing, lack of time, funding and encouragement. COVID19 was felt to have further impacted negatively upon opportunities. Amongst suggested strategies to promote engagement, mentorship and an online research resource were felt to be of most interest. Conclusions: In the first survey of this type in nephrology, we demonstrate differences across the multidisciplinary spectrum in perceived research experience and accessibility, which have been worsened by COVID19. Our findings will guide strategies to broaden engagement in early-career practitioners and serve as a baseline to assess the impact of these interventions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bottomley MJ, Beckwith H, McMahon A, Nation M, Wheeler DC, Greenwood S, Hughes J, Sheerin NS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Open

Year: 2022

Volume: 12

Print publication date: 14/12/2022

Online publication date: 14/12/2022

Acceptance date: 09/11/2022

Date deposited: 15/12/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2044-6055

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-066212


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