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Essentials of building a career in nursing research

Cleary, Michelle; Sayers, Jan; Watson, Roger


Michelle Cleary

Jan Sayers

Roger Watson


Background Nursing research is fundamental to driving evidence-based practice and achieving safe outcomes for patients. Underpinning the discussion in this paper are nurse researchers who thought strategically during their undergraduate and postgraduate studies to build a body of credible research influencing patient outcomes and, in so doing, establish their careers. Aim To provide an overview of some of the career essentials that support a transition in role for the beginner or emerging researcher, otherwise known as the early career researcher. Discussion Early career researchers need to acquire research competencies, to get involved in research teams, and to understand the research landscape and the various associated subtleties/vagaries and career trajectories. This is fundamental for establishing their credibility as researchers, and enabling them to undertake research that will influence policy and practice. Conclusion Establishing a research career is challenging, and takes time, effort, patience, perseverance and commitment. For beginner researchers, collegial support and mentoring are essential to support a viable, professional, sustainable, enquiring profession, and a satisfying career. Implications for practice Building individual capabilities and collaborative research teams together is fundamental to research success in adapting to new roles and workplaces.


Cleary, M., Sayers, J., & Watson, R. (2016). Essentials of building a career in nursing research. Nurse Researcher, 23(6), 9-13.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2015
Publication Date Jul 18, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2016
Journal Nurse researcher
Print ISSN 1351-5578
Electronic ISSN 2047-8992
Publisher RCN Publishing (RCNi)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 6
Pages 9-13
Keywords Careers, Collaboration, Mentorship, Nurse researcher, Nursing, Research impact, Scholarship, Supervision
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted version of an article published in: Nurse researcher, 2016, v.23 issue 6. The version of record can be accessed at