Can a Technology-Mediated Platform Assist Nurses to Disseminate Critical Thinking Skills?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Cordelia K. Leisegang, MNurs, RN
Elizabeth Allen, PhD, MPH (Epi), BSc (Hons)
Division of Clincial Pharmacology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Recognising the lack of support and resources for conducting clinical trials in low and middle-income countries, Global Health Trials was set up in 2008 as an online platform to facilitate a global community of practice for clinical trialists ( The success of this initial community, and related low-cost high impact face-to-face interactions on the ground, highlighted the need for other networks, including a dedicated resource for nurses. As such the Global Research Nurses' Network ( was launched in 2012 funded by The Burdett Trust for Nursing. Its remit is to focus on the needs of both nurse researchers (i.e. nurses conducting their own research to answer locally relevant nursing questions or within units as research nursing managers) and clinical research nurses (i.e. nurses performing a nurse role within clinical research teams). In order to understand these two roles better, including how they intersect, we conducted a quick 6 question survey with a 10% sample of members in September 2015: 1) Which country are you from? 2) Are you a clinical research nurse?, 3) Are you a nurse researcher?, 4) Are you using the Global Research Nurse Network?, 5) Have you heard of the Global Research Nurse Network?, 6) What information or resource would you like to see on the Global Research Nurse Network?. 92 respondents from 69 countries participated, of whom 64 % self-identified as nurse researchers, 51.1 % as clinical research nurses and 8% as other.71% of respondents were currently using the Global Research Nurse Network and 12% self-reported as not having heard of the network. 78% of respondents were able to describe what information or resource they would like to see on the website. The information nurses wanted on the website included topics such as more articles on current practices in nursing, a global nursing framework and opportunities for nurses to advance their careers in medical research. This survey has informed the direction of the Global Research Nurses' Network going forward (e.g., “educational innovation” research content has been identified as a theme for a month in 2016). The cutting-edge digital technology of the Global Research Nurses's Network is expected to assist clinical research nurses and nurse researchers by providing topic specific open access resources, eLearning courses and discussion areas. The research remit of the Global Research Nurse Network, allows for a focus on critical thinking skills. It is proposed that critical thinking nuggets be embedded into the website resources; as a skills development aid. This community of practice, with it's themed structure could facilitate these nurses in disseminating critical thinking skills within their units or institutions. The success of this dissemination will be evaluated in subsequent survey with members.