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A qualitative study exploring Emergency Department Staff attitudes to COVID-19 research


Introduction: Research conducted in the Emergency Department (ED) is essential for improving patient care and advancing evidence-based practice. However, there are several challenges to research engagement in the ED, including lack of time, awareness of research opportunities, and concerns about the impact on clinical duties. This study aimed to explore the attitudes and perceptions of ED staff involved in an enhanced syndromic surveillance of hospitalised severe acute respiratory illness (CHARISMA study) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This qualitative study utilised semi-structured interviews with a mix of nursing and medical staff with a range of experience levels. Thematic analysis was then undertaken. Results: 9 respondents informed our four key themes: the value of research, the user experience of the study tools, clinician research engagement and improvement recommendations for future iterations of the study. Our findings reveal that ED staff value research and recognise its importance in improving patient care and evidence-based practice. However, they also face significant challenges in participating in research due to time constraints, lack of awareness of research opportunities, and concerns about the impact on clinical duties. Conclusion: To address these challenges, we propose strategies to enhance research engagement in the ED, including providing more support from senior staff, more transparent communication about research studies, training on research methods and tools, and opportunities for feedback and input. Implementing these measures, we can enhance the environment for research in the ED, enabling wider staff contribution.