The best and worst aspects of the ICU research coordinator role
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Background : The Research Coordinator (RC) role is a relative new addition to staffing profiles in Australasian Intensive Care Units (ICUs). The RC plays a pivotal role in conducting ethically and scientifically sound research. There have been anecdotal reports of the RC role in various speciality areas. However, limited research has been undertaken into the role, and only one study has been published from the intensive care setting. Aim: To evaluate which factors the RC found to be the best and worst attributes of the role. Methods : A cross-sectional web-based cohort study was conducted in 2004 collecting free text information from RCs in ICUs in Australia and New Zealand. Results : Forty-nine participants (71%) completed the study with 273 entries into the two categories of 'best' (60%) and 'worst' (40%) aspects of the role. We identified four thematic clusters in both categories: (1) 'How the job was structured' (2) 'The worth of the job' (3) 'What the work involves' and (4) 'Who I work with'. Both categories received proportionally the same number of responses in each theme with (1) the most frequent and (4) the least number of entries. Conclusion : There is much variation between RCs in almost every descriptor of the role. The Australasian Intensive Care RC values autonomy, respect and intellectual stimulation with the scope for extending the role to suit the individual and finds isolation, under-recognition and workload, often not sufficiently compensated, to be the worst aspects of the position.
Nursing in Critical Care