The respondents with more education tended to have more confidence in implementing evidence-based practice. However, the longer nurses had been working in healthcare, the less interested they were in learning more about evidence-based practice.
“This was a distressing finding," said Bernadette Melnyk, the dean of the College of Nursing and chief wellness officer at Ohio State University as well as lead author of the study. “And it’s a huge problem. The average age of nurses is 47, and they were educated at a time when evidence-based practice was not well integrated into educational programs. As a result, many nurses are practicing the way they were taught or steeped in tradition of the healthcare system in which they work. When new graduates who have learned to take an evidence-based approach to care are meeting these nurses in real-world settings, they encounter this prevalence of a ‘this is the way we do it here’ culture."
Melnyk said the findings indicate the need for widespread cultural change in healthcare settings and a new direction in nursing education, where many current faculty tend to emphasize teaching rigorous research methods and critique of existing research rather than how to put research findings to use in clinical practice settings. She also said consumers should feel empowered to ask whether they are receiving evidence-based care.
The study is published in the September issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration.