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Diabetes Nursing


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Diabetes research nursing: The practical perspective

Shona Brearley

In this feature, Shona Brearley launches her new column “Diabetes research nursing” with the aim of sharing best practice ideas and giving readers the chance to ask for advice about their particular study.

Nurse researcher or research nurse? These two terms are often used to describe nurses working in diabetes research and can be defined as follows. Nurse researchers take a leading role in their studies (as principal investigator), which are usually of a qualitative nature such as studies looking at patient perspectives on diabetes healthcare education or the psychological needs of patients with a chronic disease. Research nurses tend to have a more supportive role in studies which usually have a medically qualified principal investigator. These studies are usually quantitative such as trials of new drugs or the investigation of genetics or complication development.

Both qualitative and quantitative research provide the evidence in “evidence-based medicine”, thus influencing the daily management of all people with diabetes so nurses conducting diabetes research, irrespective of their job title, need to work efficiently to maximise resource use and drive patient care forwards. As novel solutions are often required to facilitate studies, the aim of this column is to share best practice ideas and give people the chance to ask for advice about their particular study.

In the next few months, this column will look at the important aspects of research – legal aspects of study conduct, informed consent and the always challenging problem of patient recruitment. These themes are common to all researchers so hopefully individuals will be able to apply some of the solutions to their studies and share an idea or two. One brilliant idea I heard from a research nurse who was having difficulty in recruiting teenage boys to a focus group was to hold the focus group in the local football stadium, with a tour of the ground included after the meeting. Participation increased terrifically and targets were achieved!

If any readers have any burning research topics or novel solutions to research problems, please get in touch with me at

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