HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Singapore or Virtually from your home or work.

4th Edition of

Singapore Nursing Research Conference

March 21-23, 2024 | Singapore

Nursing 2024

Kathryn Tennant

Speaker at Singapore Nursing Research Conference 2024 - Kathryn Tennant
Te Whatu Ora - Waitemata, New Zealand
Title: What is the experience of nurses undertaking research activity whilst in paid employment? An interpretive descriptive study


The importance of research and evidence-based practice in delivering high-quality patient care is widely recognised. Research is pivotal in improving community health, as emphasised in the Waitemat? District Health Board (WDHB) Research Strategy (2021). The New Zealand Health Research Strategy (2017) emphasised the significance of support and research education in fostering a dynamic research environment. Therefore, to enhance nursing research capacity and capability, it is crucial to provide effective support for nurses engaged in research activities.
This interpretive descriptive study explored the experiences of nurses conducting research while being employed. By exploring these experiences, the study aimed to build research capacity and capability among nurses by providing recommendations for developing support systems. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with six registered nurses who had completed research activities within the previous five years. Following a reflexive thematic analysis approach (Braun & Clarke, 2022), five themes were developed that provide valuable insights into the participants’ experience of undertaking research activity whilst employed.
Adult learning theory vs. lack of methodological support: Nurses encountered a tension between adult learning principles and the absence of adequate methodological guidance. This underscores the need for comprehensive training and guidance to empower nurses in their research pursuits.
Role conflict: Balancing research responsibilities with clinical duties created challenges related to time management and role conflict. This issue highlights the need for recognising and addressing the dual role of nurses as both healthcare providers and researchers. Participants also experienced a conflict between their professional and personal roles.
‘Little pockets of research’: Participants often felt isolated in their research endeavours due to a lack of workplace awareness and support for research. Enhancing academic awareness and fostering a collaborative research culture is crucial for overcoming this isolation.
‘It just sits on a shelf getting dusty’: This theme reflects a gap between research completion and practical application. Bridging this gap is essential to ensure that research is disseminated, translated and integrated into practice and has a tangible impact on patient care.
‘The process grows you’: Engaging in research enhances participants’ professional growth and self-concept. Recognising and celebrating these personal and professional advancements can make nurses feel valued and motivated as researchers.
The data analysis highlights the challenges nurses encounter while conducting research while being employed. Nurses’ engagement in research should be driven by a sense of purpose, knowing that their efforts can directly influence patient care and outcomes. Moreover, nurses’ contributions as both healthcare providers and researchers should be acknowledged and appreciated.
In conclusion, this study provides valuable insights into nurses’ experiences conducting research activities while employed. By addressing the challenges identified and implementing the recommendations provided, the research support infrastructure can be enhanced, fostering a more robust research culture within healthcare organisations. Ultimately, such improvements will contribute to the advancement of nursing research and positively impact patient care and community health.

Audience Take Away Notes:
The audience will gain an appreciation of the challenges nurses face when conducting research within their employment context; an understanding of the need for providing effective support for nurses engaged in research activities to enhance nursing research capacity and capability; and practical recommendations for building research capability and capacity within their own organisations. These include:
• Reviewing and supporting relationships between academic work and the practice role
• Identifying research within job descriptions, with allocated time to undertake research
• Providing research fellowships
• Creating and supporting a clinical academic pathway
• Promoting research networks
• Recognising and promoting the visibility and availability of physical research support
• Encouraging, promoting, and supporting research dissemination
Creating a research culture in nursing requires leadership, education and training, involvement in the research process, organisational culture, and collaboration and partnerships. By promoting a research culture, nurses can advance the profession and improve patient outcomes.


Dr Tennant is an experienced senior nurse, researcher and lecturer in the UK and NZ, with a unique blend of skills, knowledge and leadership due to her experience as a Royal Navy senior nursing officer, senior nurse in critical care and senior lecturer including Masters level critical care module leader and undergraduate dissertation supervisor. She has a strong academic and research background having completed a Doctorate in Education, two Post Graduate Certificates, and a Masters degree, along with FHEA.