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A historical perspective on the contrasting experiences of nurses as research subjects and research activists

Kirby, Stephanie


Stephanie Kirby


According to the spectrum of opinion, nursing research appears to be alive but vulnerable, poised for further growth but still liable to wither if starved of funding. By using a historical approach to provide an understanding of the present, this paper hopes to offer some guidance for the healthy future of nursing research. Documentary and oral evidence has been cited to compare the experiences of nurses as the subjects of research and as researchers themselves. Investigations on recruitment and retention in nursing undertaken prior to World War II tended to give monocausal explanations for complex problems. As a result, pioneer nurse researchers had to work in an atmosphere of suspicion from sections of the profession and little regard from more established professions. The paper demonstrates that in order to make progress they used formal and informal support networks. Contemporary practitioners could identify similar networks. © Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.


Kirby, S. (2004). A historical perspective on the contrasting experiences of nurses as research subjects and research activists. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 10(6), 272-279.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2004
Journal International Journal of Nursing Practice
Print ISSN 1322-7114
Electronic ISSN 1440-172X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 6
Pages 272-279
Keywords nurses, nursing history, nursing research, personnel recruitment
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The paper originally launched a research seminar series, run in collaboration with a lead NHS Trust nurse. It draws on documentary and oral evidence pre and post World War II to review the past and present position of nurse researchers.

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