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Health Research Grants Boost Nursing Excellence: AQuAS Study Highlights Significant Benefits

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A groundbreaking study by AQuAS (Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia) has highlighted the significant benefits of health research grants for the nursing profession. The study evaluated the impact of 127 health research grants awarded between 2017 and 2021, identifying 30 cases of substantial impact and providing data on the overall benefits to the healthcare system. With an investment of over €4 million, these health research grants have allowed nurses to reduce their clinical workload to focus on research. This shift has led to increased research capabilities, advancements in knowledge, professional recognition, and improved decision-making processes within the nursing field.

The Department of Health hosted the second Public Health Policy Nurses’ Conference, commemorating International Nurses Day. This event served as a platform for sharing insights and networking among professionals specializing in health policies. Approximately 150 nurses working in various health departments and service providers participated.

The AQuAS study employed a mixed methodology, using funded research data, in-depth interviews with key research ecosystem figures, and survey analysis of grant beneficiaries. This comprehensive approach uncovered 30 significant impact cases, demonstrating the effectiveness of the grants in fostering nursing research and improving healthcare outcomes. AQuAS’s collaboration with the International School on Research Impact Assessment (ISRIA) and INGENIO-CSIC provided additional expertise.

Health Research Grants Boost Nursing Excellence: PERIS Program’s Impact

Public funding through the PERIS (Strategic Plan for Health Research and Innovation) has played a crucial role in promoting nursing research. By providing nurses with the time and opportunities for research, the program has enhanced their knowledge, skills, and capacity to improve clinical practice. The grants allowed nurses to be temporarily relieved of their clinical duties, enabling them to focus on research projects. Substitute staff were hired to cover clinical roles for periods ranging from 9 to 18 months. Upon completing their research, these nurses returned to their positions with enhanced abilities to apply their new knowledge and skills effectively.

The publication of this study represents a commitment to transparency and demonstrates the value of public investment in nursing research. The results underscore the benefits of the PERIS health research grants, highlighting their positive impact on healthcare organizations, the health system, and society. This is the first in a series of studies AQuAS is developing with INGENIO-CSIC, aiming to promote a responsible and transformative health research ecosystem through impact assessment. The study serves as an example of evaluating the impact of research policies implemented through health research grants programs. This pioneering accountability and policy evaluation practice positions the Department of Health as a likely leader in the public sector.

Health Research Grant

PERIS Health Research Grants Lead to Significant Outcomes and Innovations

The analysis of the 30 research cases showed significant advances in nursing knowledge, resulting in 64 scientific articles. In 94% of the cases, research findings were shared with the scientific community through conferences and congresses. The grants also enhanced beneficiaries’ research skills, leading to new project leadership, integration into research groups, and additional funding acquisition. Currently, 49% of surveyed beneficiaries hold doctoral degrees, and 50% have established new collaborations within the research and health systems.

Additionally, the health research grants have produced evidence-based resources and products, such as educational materials for healthcare professionals, caregivers, and patients; diagnostic questionnaires; organizational models; care methodologies; and intervention protocols. The research intensification grants have also strengthened the recognition of the nursing profession, making it more attractive and equipping nurses with new competencies to improve their service offerings. Since 2017, the Department of Health has consistently supported nursing research. Currently, the 2024 grant call is open, offering €1.8 million to fund nurse intensification contracts. These grants aim to foster nursing research to address health issues and tackle current and future societal challenges.

Nurses are essential for a comprehensive and integrated approach to health and well-being. Therefore, the Department of Health is developing the Catalonia Well-being, Health, and Care Strategy, outlining the vision for the nursing profession over the next 25 years and key priorities for the next five years. As part of this strategy, a public participation process is underway to gather citizens’ preferences and expectations regarding the role of nurses in the Catalan health system. This process is conducted online through a form available until June 3, 2024.

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Resource: Govern de la Generalitat de Catalunya, May 13, 2024

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