2021 United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Clinical Research Nurse and Midwife Census

The landmark 2021 Clinical Research Nurse and Midwife (CRNM) census was the first project to formally seek to identify the number of CRNMs across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The full report is available here: CRNM Census Report 2023_FINAL 2023

The IRNM were delighted to be the lead for the Republic of Ireland and are grateful to everyone who participated in the 2021 Census. Overall, 7,469 CRNMs responded to the survey, providing baseline information on geographical location, sector, grade / Agenda for Change banding, and specialty areas of practice. The census identified CRNMs from Band 5 -9 in the UK. In the Republic of Ireland roles ranged from Staff Nurse to Director of Nursing. The data indicates the existence of opportunities to practice as a CRNM at every level, with continued potential for career progression into senior leadership and specialist roles. CRNMs are a specialist workforce, with knowledge, skills and expertise in both clinical practice and research delivery.

The census results included:

  • 413 clinical research midwives, 7022 clinical research nurses and 34 respondents working as both a clinical research nurse and midwife across the five countries.
  • 7% reported working in joint posts, for example as a CRNM for part of their role as well as a clinical nurse specialist.
  • 72% are working within a single disease area or specialism, with the remaining 28% covering multiple specialties
  • Of the 7,469 respondents, 3,608 opted to complete the optional demographics section
  • We collected three sets of protected characteristics in this survey; ethnicity, age and gender.

The breadth and depth of CRNM involvement across the health and care sector highlights their considerable expertise, and the high quality, safe and effective delivery of care for patients they provide every day. The number of CRNMs in joint roles reflects the potential for flexible working which enables the workforce to develop expert research skills alongside clinical practice.

The results of this first UK and RoI CRNM Census provides the first baseline measure of the breadth and composition of this key workforce. It provides a catalyst to build on and holds significant potential in relation to the strategic planning of and support for CRNM roles, their visibility, implementation and positioning.