I moved to Edinburgh Napier University in early-2015 to establish the Nurses’ Lives Research Programme. Nurses’ Lives has a mission to understand and improve the health of nurses across the UK.
Establishing Nurses’ Lives at that time could not have been more fortuitous as it coincided with the launch of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance (U!REKA).
Early in the development of Nurses’ Lives we started sharing our work with colleagues across our partner U!REKA institutions, first at the kick-start conference in Amsterdam and then later in Ghent and Helsinki. We quickly learned that the issues we were exploring at Edinburgh Napier University were of interest and importance across Europe. Excitingly, through discussion with our new colleagues we also discovered that our innovative methods using routinely collected data to better understand the health of health care professionals could be replicated elsewhere.
Because of U!REKA our methods are now being used by colleagues at University College Gent in Belgium and a similar study is being planned by our friends at Metropolia University in Finland. By using comparable methods across several European countries we will be able to learn more about the health of nurses in those countries in comparison to those in the UK. We are also working together to develop joint interventions that address common problems and learn more about what works in one country and why so we can test if it achieves similar results in another.
The potential for our U!REKA collaboration to make a positive impact on health care professionals across Europe is considerable. We know that there is a connection between health care professionals own health and their health promotion efforts with patients. Plus, improving nurses’ health can reduce sickness absence and injury among nurses which may help address shortages of nursing staff across Europe.
U!REKA has given us a focus for our collaboration and powerful platform to make real and long-lasting impact on nursing policy and practice far beyond the UK - and we’ve only just got started.
Dr Richard Kyle