Today sees the launch of Global Research Nurses, a new interactive network which allows nurses around the world to become a leading voice in global health research. The invaluable collective experience which nurses gain every day can now benefit global health research more directly than ever before. Greater empowerment and increased professional recognition of nurses through Global Research Nurses will contribute to the eradication of the world’s most devastating diseases, particularly in the world’s poorest regions. 

Scientific research from the developing world provides invaluable evidence to help improve global health. However, it is these very countries that are under-represented in this essential research, due to a lack of tools, resources and skills. The majority of research currently focuses on the experience of doctors rather than nurses, yet it is nurses who are the frontline health workers in the developing world. In Malawi alone there is approximately 1 doctor to 65,000 people and 18 nurses. Global Research Nurses will help nurses identify where pragmatic research can bring evidence to enable real advancements in public health issues such as diarrhoeal disease among children and maternal mortality during childbirth. 

Funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, Global Research Nurses is a free, collaborative, supportive resource for nurses involved in research studies, with a primary focus on those in low and middle income countries. It provides a mechanism for nurses to learn about research, access free e-training and have their own professional forum to engage with other nurses working to the same goals. Global Research Nurses will run workshops and encourage local training institutions to add research skills to curriculums, increasing opportunity for professional recognition for nurses through the Global Research Nurses professional membership scheme and enabling pragmatic, locally-led evidence-based improvements in health in the world’s poorest regions.  

Global Research Nurses is launching this week in Malawi. In partnership with the Malawi College of Health Sciences, Lilongwe, and the College of Medicine, Blantyre, workshops will be held with local organisations to discuss clinical trial capacity in Malawi. The workshops will bring together clinical trial staff working across different disease areas, creating a forum for sharing skills and resources to support the development of clinical trials. With its excellent team of nurses, Malawi is the right place to launch Global Research Nurses, setting an example for how nurse-led research can flourish. 

The Global Research Nurses website will further strengthen The Global Health Network, which aims to accelerate and streamline global health research and improve health outcomes by sharing research methods and resources. Through Global Health Network’s innovative online platform which connects researchers across the global health spectrum, nurses will be able to interact with their colleagues around the world and make progress on pressing health issues. By the end of 2013 Global Research Nurses aims to have over 1,000 members of the professional membership scheme and a full set of resources made by nurses for nurses. 

Bertha Mekisen, a nurse in Malawi said:

“It’s exciting to be part of Global Research Nurses. In Malawi we are involved in studies addressing diseases like malaria and TB, nurses are very important and we want to strengthen our role and improve the recognition of our contribution in research to tackling these health issues. Global Research Nurses will help me develop my health research skills and I am looking forward to interacting with other nurses around the world, so we can take action and use our collective voice to make lasting change.” 

Alan Gibbs, Chairman of Burdett Trust for Nursing, commented:

“The Trust was set up in recognition of the pivotal role nurses play in health care and this is exactly why we have funded Global Research Nurses. It will empower nurses to make significant change and developments in global health research and encourage them to take leading roles in the designing and running of studies.” 

Trudie Lang, Founder of Global Health Network, said:

“Global Research Nurses is part of a quiet revolution in global health research. Through technology we are transforming the way research is undertaken and shared. We need nurses to be a leading voice in research and I’m delighted this important gap is being filled. Nurses will be able to share resources, ideas and results with other nurses who are providing similar services around the world and build communities online to support each other’s work. Global Research Nurses extends Global Health Network’s mission to bring global health research communities together.” 

Nicola McHugh, Project Coordinator, Global Research Nurses thinks

“this new initiative for Research Nurses has been greeted with great enthusiasm. Nurses do feel a bond with other nurses, they hold shared values and therefore appreciate the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with nurses across the world. The Global Research Nurses’ Network will offer resources and support; and will be shaped by the nurses who use it so that it provides what nurses want.” 

About The Global Health Network

The Global Health Network aims to accelerate and streamline global health research by bringing together a global community to change the way research is undertaken to ultimately improve health outcomes. The Global Health Network is a collection of seventeen individual websites connected by a shared digital hub. These websites are each professional communities with the aim of supporting research in their specific field, each community focusing on a specific therapeutic area (i.e. respiratory disease, reproductive health or oncology), type of research (i.e. diagnostics or microbiology), or are cross-cutting research support communities (i.e. clinical trials and research ethics). These communities are built and led by researchers from these fields, where scientists in their broadest sense can access each other to share knowledge, methods and tools as well as to build collaborations and work on joint activities. Each website has been initiated by a group of researchers. The Global Health Network is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Oxford Tropical Network.