Developing Nursing Researchers and Research in Germany and Beyond

In Germany, academic qualification of nurses started in the 60's in East-Germany, and 1987 in West Germany. Education of nurses is usually an occupation, requiring formal training. Today, more than 100 universities offer studies with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, sometimes a combined formal training and study. There is no clear “nursing career” for nurses, and gaining Master or PhD level depends on own motivation (and money). The payment is very heterogenous, with 100% variability. Nursing researchers are active in different settings, topics and populations. Funding is a serious problem, with only a few public organizations offering funds. Researchers are mostly employed by hospitals. Currently, the nursing researchers in the 41 German University Hospitals are conducting 76 different research projects, incl. qualitative research, quality improvement projects, surveys, randomized controlled trials, and literature research. Topics are general, e.g. team performance, decision processes, mentoring, and specific, e.g. robotic assistance, reduction of thirst, delirium management etc. One example for structured research is the network for early mobilization. Collaboration with other professions and organisations is increasing, on a national and international level.