Research for practice and practising research

Dr Karen Ford1

1THS-S, Hobart, Australia, 2School of Nursing University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


Nursing and midwifery research expands the evidence base for practice and improves patient outcomes. The integral importance of research to nursing and midwifery is outlined in the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia standards for nursing and midwifery practice. The standards identify the requirements the professions have for using the best available evidence, that includes research findings for safe quality practice and for the active contribution to quality improvement and research.

If research is so important to nursing and midwifery and quality outcomes for practice, why is it that we often find the idea of engaging in research tricky, daunting and difficult? But it doesn’t have to be this way. The paper considers the opportunities for involvement in nursing and midwifery research and how research can be incorporated into practice. The presentation presents snapshots of a range of different research projects to provide exemplars of individual and team participation in research, including translational work, evidence based inquiry and quality improvement activities.

When it comes to beginning research, it’s a bit like eating an elephant really – one bite at a time.


Midwife standards for practice | Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia October 2018

Registered nurses standards for practice | Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia June 2016


Dr Karen Ford: Karen is Assistant Director of Nursing, Research and Practice Development, THS-South. Karen is an experienced health researcher, including in the areas of patients’ experiences of care, participatory research, acute and chronic illness and she supervises several PhD and higher degree candidates. A feature of Karen’s research is growing research capacity of beginning/early career researchers.