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Investigating the roles and training of paediatric research nurses working across Europe: a questionnaire-based survey
  1. Gareth J Veal1,
  2. Salma Malik2,
  3. Mariangela Lupo3,
  4. Susan MacFarlane4,
  5. Pirkko Lepola5,
  6. Mary Costello6,
  7. Adriana Ceci7,
  8. Carine Boué1,
  9. Charlotte Lecour1,
  10. Annette Otto1,
  11. Maryam Rastegari1,
  12. Philip Berry1
  1. 1 Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2 Service de Pharmacologie Clinique, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
  3. 3 Consorzio per Valutazioni Biologiche e Farmacologiche, TEDDY, Bari, Italy
  4. 4 Scottish Children’s Research Network, Tayside Children’s Hospital, Dundee, UK
  5. 5 Finnish Investigators Network for Pediatric Medicines, Department of Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
  6. 6 National Children’s Research Centre, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland
  7. 7 Fondazione per la Ricerca Farmacologica Gianni Benzi Onlus, Valenzano, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gareth J Veal; G.J.Veal{at}


Background The key role played by research nurses in coordinating clinical trials in a paediatric setting has developed in line with increasing complexities of trial design. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted to investigate the training of research nurses involved in paediatric trials across Europe, to identify potential training needs and compare roles across specialties and countries.

Methods A structured, cross-sectional questionnaire survey was used, with the aim of describing and quantifying research nurse experiences. The questionnaire was designed to cover four main areas of interest: demographics, training, clinical trial experience and research nurse roles/activities.

Results The questionnaire was completed by 341 respondents across 45 different specialties in 20 European countries. A higher percentage of research nurses within 3 years of taking up post were dissatisfied with the level of training received (16%), as compared with those in post for 3–6 years (8%) and >6 years (6%). There was a trend towards a higher percentage of respondents receiving self-funded training in mainland Europe, with reported values of 15%–20%, as compared with <5% in the UK and Ireland. Only 3% of research nurses prescribed investigational medicinal products in a clinical trial setting, with contrasting roles observed between countries.

Conclusions While high levels of training satisfaction were observed, 67% of respondents felt they would benefit from additional training in line with frequently changing practices. Currently, low levels of nurse prescribing are observed in a paediatric clinical trial setting across Europe. Appropriate research nurse training programmes should be promoted through national networks across Europe.

  • research nurse
  • training
  • paediatrics
  • clinical trials

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  • Contributors GJV, SM, ML, SMF, PL, MC and AC conceived the study and were responsible for the design of the study and appropriate dissemination of the final questionnaire across European centres. GV, CB, CL, AO, MR and PB were responsible for the collation and analysis of data obtained from the study. GV was responsible for writing of the manuscript. All authors provided input into manuscript review and approved the final version for submission.

  • Funding This research was supported by Cancer Research UK and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Network.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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