Research in palliative care is essential to improve outcomes for patients with terminal illness. It is important that hospices are central to research in the speciality, however, research is not always well embedded in hospice cultures. Essential to this is raising awareness amongst team members of all disciplines, both of the importance of research in general and also the role of evidence in underpinning clinical practice.
Journal clubs are a well-established way of sharing research within teams and developing critical appraisal skills of staff, and have been identified as a potential method of building research culture in hospices (Payne, Preston, Turner & Rolls, 2013). Expanding participation beyond the traditional single discipline model offers the opportunity to expose more of the entire team to research methodologies and appraisal of evidence. Multidisciplinary reflection and learning may also have additional benefits to team culture and the potential to better underpin multidisciplinary decision making.
As part of developing a research culture within Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool, a new journal club was established and publicised to all staff with support from senior team leaders. In addition to discussing and reflecting on the paper and its effect on practice, emphasis is placed on exploring potential future research questions.
There has been excellent attendance and engagement across multiple disciplines at every session, including senior and ward staff nurses, various grades of doctors, healthcare assistants, physiotherapy, social work and fundraising departments as well as nursing and medical students.
As exposure to the process has increased various multidisciplinary team members have developed the confidence to present papers, facilitated by support from the research nurse in the hospice. Feedback has been very positive and work to assess the effect of this on awareness of research and how it underpins practice is in progress.