Intended for healthcare professionals


Research in nursing, midwifery, and the allied health professions

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 19 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:833

Quantum leap required for quality research

  1. Anne Marie Rafferty, reader (,
  2. Michael Traynor, senior lecturer,
  3. David R Thompson, director,
  4. Irene Ilott, group head research and development,
  5. Elizabeth White, research and development officer
  1. Centre for Policy in Nursing Research, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  2. Nethersole School of Nursing, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  3. College of Occupational Therapists, London SE1 1LB

    Although the United Kingdom invests almost £3.5bn ($5.5bn; €5.1bn) in medical research from public and private sources,1 73% of published research in nursing and 83% in occupational therapy remain unfunded.2 Underfunding in nursing and allied health professions is relative to that in comparable professions and to the size of their workforce. Recent reports indicate that nursing receives only 20% of that allocated to a national programme in teaching and learning of the Economic and Social Research Council. 2 3 Nurses, midwives, and members of the allied health professions represent two thirds of the staff responsible for direct care for patients, yet little is known of the clinical or cost effectiveness of the largest sector of care. For nurses, only 1482 research publications have appeared in eight years1; …

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