To explore the experience of research nurses who obtain consent from adults in emergency settings to participate in clinical trials, either prospectively or post enrolment.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Gloucestershire Royal Hospital


Aim: To explore the understanding and experiences of research nurses who obtain informed consent from adult patients participating in emergency care research.

Design: Qualitative phenomenographic descriptive study.

Methods: Ten research nurses from six hospitals in England were recruited. Data were collected using semi‐structured face‐to‐face and telephone interviews between January 2019 and March 2019. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically, informed by phenomenography. COREQ was followed.

Results: Three main themes were identified: (a) emergency research is different, (b) protecting the patient, and (c) experience and confidence with recruitment. It was found that obtaining patient consent in emergency care research was challenging and timing of the process was crucial. Nurses with more experience of emergency care were more confident in approaching patients and their families. There was variability in out‐of‐hours recruitment which was a consequence of the range of informed consent processes used and the different levels of engagement of clinical teams.

Conclusion: There is a variety of organisational cultures, processes and procedures which affect the way consent is obtained in emergency care research. A team approach was evident in the hospitals where consent rates were high and was more successful than those reliant solely on the presence of a research nurse. Organisations were able to recruit successfully to emergency care research studies irrespective of size and configuration. Further investigation of their models of working and strategies for engagement is needed. Experienced research nurses made a positive difference to recruitment and were more likely to approach patients to obtain consent.

Relevance to clinical practice: The understanding and experiences of recruitment to clinical trials in emergency care research by research nurses can help identify barriers to recruitment. This study provides useful insights for healthcare practitioners, clinical trials coordinators and sponsors about how best to develop protocols and policies to increase recruitment to emergency care research.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Early online date22 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2020


  • consent, emergency care, qualitative study, recruitment, research nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas