Building the Research Capacity of Rehabilitation Clinicians

About the Project

Updated February, 2023.


Identifying the Research Capacity Needs of Medical Officers in Rehabilitation and Related Services to Inform Strategies to Enhance Participation in Research


Project Synopsis

This project follows on the heels of a successful Rehabilitation Nursing Research Masterclass and mentorship program for nurses in the Division of Rehabilitation (DoR) at Metro South Health (see below). In a collaboration between The Hopkins Centre at Griffith University, and the DoR within Metro South Health, Letitia Burridge and a team of researchers used mixed-methods research to identify the research skills, engagement, experience, priorities and training needs of rehabilitation Medical Officers (MOs). The study found that MOs have moderate to high levels of interest in doing research, but they are constrained by a lack of current research skills and a persistent lack of time for research. As a result, resources were developed to build research capacity in Rehabilitation MOs across Metro South Health to upskill them for leading research as well as applying for research grants.


Outcomes and Impact

A results paper is in submission. A series of practical training modules, Getting Started in Research, was developed for MOs and other clinicians to build their research skills in small steps. The self-paced online format can fit around clinical work, enabling clinicians to complete these pilot-tested modules when the need stimulates their engagement with skills-training. They are complemented by worksheets and other resources, available via the DoR homepage on the Princess Alexandra Hospital intranet.

A 2-hour, in-person workshop was also developed and delivered to build research capacity in rehabilitation MOs. The inaugural Workshop was held in October 2022 for MOs in rehabilitation services affiliated with The Hopkins Centre – Metro South Health DoR at Princess Alexandra, Logan, Gold Coast and Ipswich Hospitals. Using principles of adult learning, the workshop sought to refresh and strengthen participants’ research knowledge and skills, share practical resources, and enable them to connect with clinical peers and active researchers. Eight MOs attended this workshop – which was the first of its kind for DoR and Hopkins. By the end of the workshop, participants were able to clarify their location in the research process, and had a plan for the next steps to take.


Reflections from participants

All of the workshop ratings were positive, and participants felt the workshop was worth recommending to colleagues.  Other comments suggest a desire for ongoing contact to maintain momentum in building research capacity and becoming research-active.  For example:

"Great to hear stories from early career researchers and discuss ideas with research academics" - workshop participant.

"I enjoyed speaking one-on-one with other researchers about my project.  I would have liked more time to discuss with multiple others rather than just one or two" - workshop participant.

The team behind the workshop were delighted that the MOs made the time to attend this event after a demanding clinical day, and hopes the workshop will be offered again sometime in 2023.


About the Research Nursing Masterclass Program

Project Synopsis

The Masterclass is a ground-up initiative to engage rehabilitation nurses to engage in research. The program comprises foundation and advanced workshops. In the 6 months between workshops, participants progress their research idea with access to academic mentors while networking with research-interested peers. The Masterclass model has practical, interactive content underpinned by principles of adult learning. Formal evaluation and feedback suggest that the Masterclass has been successful and valued. The team hopes the program will be offered again in 2023.


Reflections from participants

"The protective time allocated in this workshop and 1:1 mentoring help me to achieve great work.  I can move forward with my proposed research project.  I am able to take this time and thought deeply and discussed details with many mentors today" - Masterclass Participant.


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