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Using Twitter™ to drive research impact: a discussion of strategies, opportunities and challengesResearchers have always recognised the importance of disseminating the findings of their work, however, recently the need to proactively plan and drive the impact of those findings on the wider society has become a necessity. Firstly, this is because funders require evidence of return from investment and secondly and crucially because national research assessments are becoming powerful determinants of future funding. In research studies associated with nursing, impact needs to be demonstrated by showing the effect on a range of stakeholders including service users, patients, carers, the nursing workforce and commissioners. Engaging these groups is a well-known challenge influenced by lack of access to academic journals, lack of time to read long complex research papers and lack of opportunities to interact directly with the researchers. This needs to be addressed urgently to enable nursing research to increase the impact that it has on health delivery and the work of clinical practitioners. Social media is potentially a novel way of enabling research teams to both communicate about research as studies progress and to disseminate findings and research funders are increasingly using it to publicise information about research programmes and studies they fund. A search of the healthcare literature reveals that advice and guidance on the use of social media for research studies is not well understood or exploited by the research community. This paper, therefore, explores how using social networking platforms, notably Twitter™ offers potential new ways for communicating research findings, accessing diverse and traditionally hard-to-reach audiences, knowledge exchange at an exponential rate, and enabling new means of capturing and demonstrating research impact. The paper discusses approaches to initiate the setup of social networking platforms in research projects and considers the practical challenges of using Twitter™ in nursing and healthcare research. The discussion is illuminated with examples from our current research. In summary, we suggest that the use of social media micro-blogging platforms is a contemporary, fast, easy and cost effective way to augment existing ways of disseminating research which helps drive impact.
What aspects of intentional rounding work in hospital wards, for whom and in what circumstances? A realist evaluation protocolIntentional rounding (IR) is a structured process whereby nurses in hospitals carry out regular checks, usually hourly, with individual patients using a standardised protocol to address issues of positioning, pain, personal needs and placement of items. The widespread implementation of IR across the UK has been driven by the recommendations of the Francis Inquiry although empirical evidence of its effectiveness is poor. This paper presents a protocol of a multimethod study using a realist evaluation approach to investigate the impact and effectiveness of IR in hospital wards on the organisation, delivery and experience of care from the perspective of patients, their family members and staff. The study will be conducted in four phases. Phase 1: theory development using realist synthesis to generate hypotheses about what the mechanisms of IR may be, what particular groups may benefit most or least and what contextual factors might be important to its success or failure which will be tested in subsequent phases of the study. Phase 2: a national survey of all NHS acute trusts to explore how IR is implemented and supported across England. Phase 3: case studies to explore how IR is implemented 'on the ground', including individual interviews with patients, family members and staff, non-participant observation, retrieval of routinely collected patient outcomes and cost analysis. Phase 4: accumulative data analysis across the phases to scrutinise data for patterns of congruence and discordance and develop an overall evaluation of what aspects of IR work, for whom and in what circumstances. The study has been approved by NHS South East Coast-Surrey Research Ethics Committee. Findings will be published in a wide range of outputs targeted at key audiences, including patient and carer organisations, nursing staff and healthcare managers. INTRODUCTION METHODS AND ANALYSIS ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION