Nursing research programs gather strength in Australia
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To shed light on programmatic research through direct experience is highly beneficial to nursing scholarship. Following a recent description of a successful Australian program of research centered around people's chronic illness experience we are inspired to continue the commentary (Koch et al 2005). Koch et al's (2005) case study reported on several 'core elements' they believe have contributed to the growth and effectiveness of their program. In this paper we consider some of these in light of current literature and our own challenging experiences within several Australian universities. Koch et al (2005) also makes a not too subtle distinction between dedicated research units independent of universities and research programs emanating from academia, suggesting the former are more productive. While one of the authors in the above paper, a UK scholar and nursing academic, makes interesting observations about this assertion, we contend that his UK perspective fails to capture the urgency of establishing nursing research programs in Australian universities. Consequently, we have chosen to extend the discussion about nursing research programs from the perspective of Australian academe, including comment on building productive relationships, strengthening a track record, research and practice as symbiotic processes, competitive funding strategies, and the integral role of research students. The entire commentary is located in a celebratory context of 20 years of Australian nursing education in the university sector, a context not without controversy. We give consideration to the best way ahead for the future of nursing research programs and hope our ideas spark further sharing of experiences.