Aims and objectives. In this article, we identify key aspects for enhancing real-world research in mental health care clinical settings and broadly discuss some practicalities and issues that must be considered beforehand.
Background. Practice which is evidence-based uses interventions or treatment methods that are supported by research findings for their quality and efficacy. Modern mental health settings endorse evidence-based practice and welcome the development of innovative, evidence-based approaches to care. Often, however, research findings are inaccessible, inconclusive, inconsistent, contradictory and overwhelming in sheer volume. Further, where there is no evidence, the absence of evidence is frequently mistaken for evidence of absence of the effectiveness of services.
Design. Discursive paper.
Method. The main themes expressed in the literature were collated by the authors into themes, and their relevance to the development of real-world clinical mental health research is summarised with the aid of a vignette.
Conclusions. Ideally, research should be part of mainstream activities and as such constitute core business. Staff in mental health services should be encouraged to be research productive, and prospective clinical researchers should consider linking their studies to higher research degree programmes so that they can access resources, support and expertise to sustain motivation and morale.
Relevance to clinical practice. For research findings to make the leap to evidence-based practice, the research needs to include real-world consumers and families typical of clinical practice supported by clinically relevant outcomes. Clinical and research leaders should create opportunities for academic and clinical nurses to collaborate in research, and researchers should ensure that clinically relevant outcomes are presented in ways that are meaningful and accessible to clinicians.