• action research;
  • organizational change;
  • nursing competencies;
  • collaboration;
  • research ethics

Action research in action: reflections on a project to introduce Clinical Practice Facilitators to an acute hospital setting

Aims of the paper. The process and philosophical basis of action research are discussed in this article by reviewing the insights that were gained from a study designed to enhance the support available to junior nursing staff in an acute hospital setting.

Rationale. It has been well documented that newly qualified nurses require help to develop professional competencies. With this in mind, the role of Clinical Practice Facilitator was established within a National Health Service (NHS) Trust to enhance clinical skill acquisition and the professional development of newly registered nurses and health care assistants.

Design. In order to facilitate the inception, development and subsequent evaluation of these new roles, an action research approach was adopted. Strategies used to encourage collaboration and flexibility during the project are also discussed.

Results. The primary aims of the project were achieved and the authors suggest that the choice of action research was significant to the successful outcome. However, a number of issues arose which deserve more attention including the importance of the interpersonal skills of the action researcher and the value of action research to facilitate change which is relevant at both an individual and organizational level.