Involving practice nurses in primary care research: the experience of multiple and competing demands


S. Boase: e-mail:


boase s., kim y., craven a. & cohn s. (2012) Involving practice nurses in primary care research: the experience of multiple and competing demands. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(3), 590–599.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the experiences of practice nurses delivering a complex research intervention in an exploratory randomized controlled trial in primary care.

Background.  As practice nurses increasingly become involved in primary care research, it is important to understand not only what impact this may have on their existing role but also equally on what their potential contribution might be.

Method.  Fourteen of the 15 practice nurses involved in the delivery of a complex intervention were purposively sampled and interviewed in their workplace between June and October 2007. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using a Framework Approach and NVivo software.

Findings.  Time influenced the nurses’ engagement with the various aspects of the trial and meant that they constantly had to make judgments and decisions in response to the multiple agendas presented to them: they had to negotiate a range of competing loyalties between their professional clinical role, their role in the research and practice teams and their relationship with patients. The nurses’ accounts consequently provide insight into the active role they played both in the trial process and the delivery of the complex intervention.

Conclusion.  The nurses were key to the delivery of the trial. If practice nurses are to develop a research role in their professional work, it is important to understand their perceptions and the impact such involvement has on them and their practice. Consideration of these factors is consequently valuable when developing research in primary care settings.