Federal agencies and academic institutions should periodically evaluate how well their current training programs are enhancing the racial and ethnic diversity of trainees and they should modify these programs as needed to increase the programs’ effectiveness in clinical research.
The continuing shortfall of nursing professionals is compounded in clinical research by the longer time required for specialized training, and the fewer numbers of nursing faculty involved in clinical research.
The need for appropriately trained nursing professionals in the clinical research workforce is especially urgent. A significant push is needed to increase the numbers of minorities entering the nursing profession. Additional attention should be paid to the clinical research training of nurse-scientists, nursing students, and nursing faculty at all academic levels.
The shortfall could be curtailed by expanding training efforts. These could include increasing fast-track B.S.N.-Ph.D. programs, training grants in clinical research, summer programs, fellowships, and training sabbaticals.
Given the long training period required for clinical research, entry points throughout a clinical research career path, not just at trainee levels, could increase the workforce. Additional efforts are needed to retain scientists in the clinical research workforce.
Academic institutions should develop strategies to attract mentors and reward mentorship in clinical research training. A special emphasis should be placed on the women and minorities who carry the greatest burden of mentorship responsibilities for women and minority scientists.