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Objective: To describe the perceived research capacity and support at the individual, department and organisation levels among clinicians in a state funded health district in Sydney, Australia.
Methods: We asked allied health, medical, nursing, management and administrative staff across Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District to fill in the Research Capacity in Context survey online. The survey includes questions about individual skills and capacity regarding research, available support and encouragement for research from the department and organisation, and motivators and barriers to involvement in research. Descriptive analyses (means and proportions) were reported separately for each staff category.
Results: Four hundred and thirty-nine people responded, approximately 7% of total staff, of whom around 80% were clinicians. Response rate was highest from allied health clinicians (approx. 26%), rates were 4-6% for the other staff categories. Participants rated their individual research capacity as poor to good for most aspects, medical staff rated themselves higher than allied health and nursing. Respondents identified the lack of quarantined time and necessity to prioritise clinical duties as the key barriers to engaging with research. The most identified motivators were desire to improve services and outcomes for patients and resolving clinical problems.
Conclusions: Clinicians in the public health service are motivated to engage with research to improve services for their patients but they lack the time and support. If health services wish to encourage research activity among clinicians they need to free up time from delivering clinical care and provide access to training and operational support.
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