Healthcare professionals in research (HPiR) Facebook community: a survey of U.K. doctoral and postdoctoral healthcare professionals outside of medicine
BMC Medical Education
Healthcare professionals outside of medicine (HCPs), including nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, are increasingly involved in research for patient benefit. Their challenge is to negotiate inter-professional or professionally isolated contexts. The aims of this study were to evaluate the 'Healthcare Professionals in Research' (HPiR) Facebook group (a self-directed and confidential peer support group for doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs) including engagement, the experiences of
... ral and postdoctoral HPiR members and to identify future career challenges using an on-line survey. The HPiR Facebook group was launched in May 2019. Five HCP Community managers (CMs) were trained in on-line platform curation, moderation and screening. An on-line survey was designed to capture data from HPiR members. A purposive sampling approach was applied. Respondents were required to be doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs and a registered member of the HPiR group. Respondents represented a range of healthcare professions, 79 % of whom had over ten years clinical experience. Membership growth and engagement was analysed. Descriptive statistics were used to present numerical data. Qualitative data were analysed thematically. 96 members were admitted to the group within the first month. All members were actively engaged with group content. 34/96 doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs completed the survey. Most members joined for networking (88 %) and peer support (82 %) purposes. Analysis of text responses showed difficulties in balancing a clinical academic career and highlighted the consequences of undefined clinical academic roles and pathways. Doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs value the opportunities that HPiR provides for peer support and connection with fellow HCPs. HPiR has the potential to strengthen research capacity, support research skill development and drive change within the clinical academic community. Clinical academic roles and pathways need to be standardised. The creation of opportunities beyond doctoral studies is a priority.