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Settings for health and care research

Find out about opportunities to have research in your role when working in hospitals, primary, community or social care settings.

This could include supporting people to take part in research, running research studies in specialist units or leading research studies.

Primary care

A nurse or midwife in primary care can support, deliver or lead research within settings such as General Practices (GP) and community centres.

Case studies

Why choose a nursing career in primary care research?

Three primary care research nurses, who carry out NHS studies in GP practices, speak about their roles and why other nurses should consider a career in research:

Finding flexibility in my role - Chinnu's story

Chinnu is a primary and community care research nurse in the Luton, Essex and Herts Valley Primary Care Research Team. In this Shape the Future case study, Chinnu shares her story of balancing working in research with raising a family:

Case study: Finding flexibility in my role

"We're stronger by working together" - Karen's 20 year research career

Karen is a Primary Care Research Nurse and Manager in Norfolk. She has worked in research for over 20 years.

Case study:  “We’re stronger by working together” - Primary Care Research Nurse on her inspiring 20-year research career

Useful links

Find out about collaborations between academics and practitioners at Primary Care Nursing - School for Primary Care Research

Find support and potential partners on the NHS Confederation website: Understanding the primary care research landscape: directory of research organisations

Find out about NHS Primary Care Networks

Join the NHS Confederation's Primary Care Network to maximise the impact you have on patient care and drive change


Research takes place in all hospitals, from large teaching hospitals in major cities to small district general hospitals in remote areas, as well as specialised hospitals (ie children’s or cancer care).

Find out more through your Research & Development department and your lead research nurse or midwife.

Useful links

Research Hub - Royal College of Midwives

Information and resources on using and developing research to enhance practice: Research and innovation - Royal College of Nursing

Community settings

There is an increasing emphasis on developing research roles and initiatives for nurses and midwives based in community practice and for those coming into community settings to carry out research.

This means research can be offered where people are already engaging in services.

Cast study

Becoming a Research-Active Community Learning Disabilities Nurse - Anca Manea's story

Anca Manea is a NICHE Research Embedded Fellow and a Community Learning Disabilities Nurse working in the Norwich Adult Learning Disabilities Team for Norfolk Community Health and Care.

Read Anca's story on The Queen's Nursing Institute website

Public health

Public health research takes place in a range of community settings, including:

  • local authorities
  • charities
  • commercial organisations
  • schools
  • prisons

For complex studies, there may be multiple stakeholders across different settings who work together.

Useful links

Community Nursing Research Forum - The Queen's Nursing Institute

Research information - Institute of Health Visiting

Research information - School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA)

NIHR School for Primary Care Research

Social care

There are more than 33,000 registered nurses working in the adult social care sector in England, the majority working in residential care settings, who are currently underrepresented in research roles. We recognise the need for and importance of increasing opportunities for social care nurses to support, deliver and lead research activities.

Useful links

Care England

Social care webpages

More information

Research roles for nurses and midwives

Explore our information and resources for Nurses and midwives