AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This study explores embedded researcher's age, qualifications, research environment and experience in healthcare and academic organisations in Australia and makes comparisons across three core professional disciplines of nursing and midwifery, medicine and allied health.
BACKGROUND: The embedded researcher model, where a researcher is embedded as a core member of the clinical team, offers promise to support the implementation of research evidence into practice. Currently, there is a lack of clarity about how the model has been adopted across the three largest professional disciplines in Australian health care.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey was designed and reported, using the STROBE Statement.
METHODS: A purposive sample of embedded researchers was invited to participate in an exploratory online survey. Embedded researchers worked, or had worked, for a minimum of 30% of their time, in a healthcare organisation doing research or building research capacity. Participant responses were extracted from the survey and imported into SPSS for analysis.
RESULTS: Perspectives of 100 Australian embedded researchers were compared across nursing and midwifery (36%, n = 37), allied health (35%, n = 36) and medicine (26%, n = 27). Professional differences are reported in respondents' qualifications and experience, employment conditions and their research cultures and environments. Comparatively, most nursing and midwifery embedded researchers were older, more clinically experienced than allied health respondents, who were more research qualified. Medical-embedded researchers are typically older, more clinically experienced and focussed on producing personally relevant clinical research. Nursing and midwifery embedded researchers reported doing clinical research within their teams, as well as research capacity building, management and clinical practice roles.
CONCLUSIONS: Embedded researchers describe different career trajectories across the three largest professional disciplines in Australian health care.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Embedded researchers from different professional disciplines enact their work differently. It appears that when they engage in research capacity building via a range of management and networking roles, embedded researchers contribute to their organisation's research culture and receive greater recognition for their achievements.