The UK Integrated Workforce Framework: NIHR

 Figure 1.  The IWF Model ( Note: Illustration from the IWF website)

Figure 1.  The IWF Model (Note: Illustration from the IWF website)

The UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) has used the JTF Framework in a clinical research workforce development initiative called the Integrated Workforce Framework (IWF).  This is part of a national project that included input from a selection of stakeholders and endorsed by a project board from the UK Department of Health.  This was built upon existing resources that were tried and tested, including the Royal College of Nursing Framework for Clinical Research Nurses (2011) and the Joint Task Force Clinical Research Core Competency Framework (Sonstein et al, 2014). 

The IWF provides a way of describing the clinical research workforce and enables individuals to identify their current role focus and opportunities for further development.  There are three key components of framework: (1) Clinical Research (featuring JTF domains), (2) Clinical Context and (3) Leadership (Figure 1). 

The IWF can be used to build a personalized visual profile chart to describe a clinical research professional’s (CRP) current role.  This works well to document knowledge and experience and also enables conversations and individual reflections about a CRP’s role (Figure 2).

 Figure 2.  Using the IWF during a clinical research workforce workshop.   (Note: Illustration from the IWF website)

Figure 2.  Using the IWF during a clinical research workforce workshop.

(Note: Illustration from the IWF website)

The initial launch of this initiative was during Spring, 2017 with an engagement and evaluation period between May – September, 2017.  The published data will be shared in Autumn, 2017 and plans are underway to automate the IWF through IT support.

As illustrated on the IWF website it is important to understand the intention of the framework, what it can be used for, and what it is not intended for.

The IWF aims to be comprehensive in its coverage as an overarching framework, which provides a shared language and methodology of describing roles.

It can be used by any CRP, regardless of level:

  • To describe any research role that a CRP is employed to do
  • To be integrated with locally used competence frameworks
  • To provide a snapshot of personnel at a research site or organization
  •  To inform skill-mix conversations across clinical research teams alongside a scope of practice
  • To provide a common language to inform solution focused conversations about the clinical research workforce.

It is not intended to be a stand-alone competence framework or a source of detailed performance criteria.

  (Note: Illustration from the IWF website)

(Note: Illustration from the IWF website)

This is just one evolving example of the integration of the JTF Framework.  We anxiously await data from their evaluations and an automated version that could be used more globally!  For more information, contact: Janice Paterson at the NIHR

A YouTube Video has been developed during a recent workshop where CRPs gathered to implement their individual IWF.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/NGTnqHbj--o