About the

Who are we?

REFLECTION is a network of researchers working in Europe to improve the evidence which underpins nursing interventions. Our members are all actively involved in the design, testing and implementation of nursing interventions, i.e. care activities which are undertaken by nurses and have a direct bearing on the health and wellbeing of patients and their carers. We believe that nursing interventions are quintessentially complex and thus require programmes of sophisticated mixed methods research for these activities to be evidence-based and translated into clinical practice. REFLECTION members all share the belief that rigorous and integrated development and testing of nursing interventions is required before they are implemented.

REFLECTION is supported by a European Science Foundation Research Network Programme award.

What do we do?

The REFLECTION network is leading the drive to re-focus nursing research activity. Our main aim is to develop an international faculty network of researchers working in Europe who can improve the evidence which underpins nursing interventions. We are developing the skills of the international research community to enable that community to design, plan and implement programmatic, mixed methods and complex interventions research in nursing. REFLECTION is, therefore, developing knowledge for nursing that is both useful to practicing nurses and that can be readily translated into their practice.

How do we do that?

REFLECTION provides both an online space and formal educational activities for its members. Our online meeting place enables researchers to come together from many different European countries in order to jointly develop complex interventions research projects in nursing. Our formal educational activities include seminars and master classes for experienced researchers and an annual summer school for doctoral students. These activities are held in different European centres each year.

And Why?

Nursing has a critical role in meeting health and social care challenges such as an ageing population, chronic diseases and new endemics, at the fore of European health concerns. Increasingly, nurses engage in a wide range of activities, many of which are highly complex and take place in multiple care environments. These include acute medicine, chronic care facilities, mental health, primary care, and residential care homes.

Nursing is a classic example of a ‘complex intervention’ – an activity that contains a number of component parts with the potential for interactions between them. When applied to the intended target population these produce a range of variable outcomes. Modern guidance on research methods recommends that the knowledge base for complex interventions in health care should be investigated through a process of development, feasibility/piloting, evaluation and implementation, where there is a dynamic interchange between stages (MRC, 2008).

Currently, few research programmes into nursing activity have taken this perspective. Reviews of nursing research show that it is mainly fragmented, non-programmatic, context bound and descriptive. This situation must change if nursing is to realize its potential for making a secure evidence based contribution to European health and health care.

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