Impact case studies submitted to REF 2014: The hidden impact of nursing research
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© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.The UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 rated the research from 154 universities, and the impact of research was evaluated in 6975 impact case studies. Nursing was returned within unit of assessment (UoA) 3, which also included Dentistry, Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, although nursing research was also submitted within other UoAs. The study aim was to collate and categorise available REF impact case studies involving nursing researchers or on topics of relevance to nursing. Using nurs* as a search term, 469 case study entries were retrieved from the REF database and placed into three categories determined by the level of involvement of nurses. Some 80 impact case studies were submitted by nurses across 11 units of assessment, the majority being in UoA 3 (n = 55). A further 50 revealed some relevant impact, although nurses did not have an obvious research role. A total of 248 case studies described actual or potential impact on health or social care but were not associated specifically with nursing. Nursing research has demonstrable impact; however, there is a significant body of research with relevance for nursing that has not been associated with the profession in the REF. More attention should be paid to the ‘hidden impact’ of nursing research to ensure the full impact of nursing is recognised.
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