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The development and acceptability of an educational and training intervention for recruiters to neonatal trials: the TRAIN project

Smith, V., Delaney, H., Hunter, A., Torgerson, D., Treweek, S., Gamble, C., Mills, N., Stanbury, K., Dempsey, E., Daly, M., O’Shea, J., Weatherup, K., Deshpande, S., Ryan, M. A., Lowe, J. ORCID:, Black, G. and Devane, D. 2023. The development and acceptability of an educational and training intervention for recruiters to neonatal trials: the TRAIN project. BMC Medical Research Methodology 23 (1) , 265. 10.1186/s12874-023-02086-1

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Background: Suboptimal or slow recruitment affects 30–50% of trials. Education and training of trial recruiters has been identified as one strategy for potentially boosting recruitment to randomised controlled trials (hereafter referred to as trials). The Training tRial recruiters, An educational INtervention (TRAIN) project was established to develop and assess the acceptability of an education and training intervention for recruiters to neonatal trials. In this paper, we report the development and acceptability of TRAIN. Methods: TRAIN involved three sequential phases, with each phase contributing information to the subsequent phase(s). These phases were 1) evidence synthesis (systematic review of the effectiveness of training interventions and a content analysis of the format, content, and delivery of identified interventions), 2) intervention development using a Partnership (co-design/co-creation) approach, and 3) intervention acceptability assessments with recruiters to neonatal trials. Results: TRAIN, accompanied by a comprehensive intervention manual, has been designed for online or in-person delivery. TRAIN can be offered to recruiters before trial recruitment begins or as refresher sessions during a trial. The intervention consists of five core learning outcomes which are addressed across three core training units. These units are the trial protocol (Unit 1, 50 min, trial-specific), understanding randomisation (Unit 2, 5 min, trial-generic) and approaching and engaging with parents (Unit 3, 70 min, trial-generic). Eleven recruiters to neonatal trials registered to attend the acceptability assessment training workshops, although only four took part. All four positively valued the training Units and resources for increasing recruiter preparedness, knowledge, and confidence. More flexibility in how the training is facilitated, however, was noted (e.g., training divided across two workshops of shorter duration). Units 2 and 3 were considered beneficial to incorporate into Good Clinical Practice Training or as part of induction training for new staff joining neonatal units. Conclusion: TRAIN offers a comprehensive co-produced training and education intervention for recruiters to neonatal trials. TRAIN was deemed acceptable, with minor modification, to neonatal trial recruiters. The small number of recruiters taking part in the acceptability assessment is a limitation. Scale-up of TRAIN with formal piloting and testing for effectiveness in a large cluster randomised trial is required.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 28 October 2023
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2023 15:00

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