‘Guidance for Practice Managers: Becoming and Staying Research Active’ is a newly written guide to handling research projects within the practice. General practitioners, practice managers and nurses will find this reference work serves as a robust training guide to getting involved in health research. Written by a group of experienced practice managers, with support from Primary Care Research Network (PCRN) staff, it combines a practical approach with a clear understanding of the ethical and governance requirements for research. Armed with the kind of forethought that comes from experience, practices will be able to assess the scope and viability of a project they are asked to assist with and make the most of the opportunities that research offers.
The PCRN is funded by the Department of Health and dedicated to expanding clinical research in primary care – critically important if research is to address the problems encountered in everyday practice. The idea for this guide came from discussions within the East of England PCRN. Dr Jonathan Graffy, Clinical Director and Lead GP for PCRN-EoE said: “It seemed that practice managers were key to the successful management of studies, so we invited a group of experienced managers to share their knowledge. Nine practice managers came together with staff from the network to produce this guide which covers practical aspects of delivering research that academics might miss. This guide is more than an excellent reference for practice managers – it’s a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to understand how really effective practice teams manage their research work.”
The first section takes an informed and practical approach to the decision about whether to become active in research. It identifies three main reasons for practices to take on studies: engaging patients in a better understanding of their health; practice development and as a means of generating additional income. But are these good intentions achievable? The guide examines what exactly happens in a practice as a project goes forward. Drawing on this group’s experience, others can check out the pros and cons of research before actually taking the plunge. The later sections serve as a reference guide to setting up all aspects of a study.
A resource such as this is well worth reading for those who are new to research and want to find out more. Practices already research active will find it a useful point of reference and aide memoire. It is available for download, free from PCRN East of England website: http://www.pcrn-eoe.org/.
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