Melnyk and colleagues solicited potential participants via emails sent to 20,000 randomly selected members of the American Nurses Association. Of those, 1,015 members completed the survey.
The survey contained questions about the state of evidence-based practice from each respondent’s perspective as well as two open-ended questions: what one thing prevents respondents from implementing evidence-based practice in daily clinical care, and what one thing would help them the most to implement this care.
Respondent ages ranged from 21 to 79 years, and 93 percent were female. Nearly 56 percent held master’s degrees or higher, and 44 percent had earned a bachelor’s, associate degree or diploma. The average number of years in nursing practice was 24, representing a range of zero to 52 years. Almost 47 percent worked in community hospitals and 23 percent practiced in academic medical centers. A quarter of respondents described themselves as nurse educators.
While 46.4 percent of respondents agreed that findings from research studies are routinely implemented to improve patient outcomes at their institution, more than three-quarters, 76.2 percent, indicated that it was important for them to receive more education and skills building in evidence-based practice. Fewer than a third of respondents reported that mentors were available in their healthcare settings to help them learn more about how to adopt these practices.
Nurses working in hospitals with Magnet designation, awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for excellence in nursing, were more likely to report the adoption of evidence-based care at their institutions, plenty of educational opportunities to gain skills in this care, and organizational cultures that supported the use of evidence in delivering care.
As for her own educational institution, Melnyk said that when she arrived at Ohio State one year ago, she held workshops on evidence-based practice with faculty “so we made sure we were talking the same language and were committed to integrating this even further throughout our curriculum. It is being strengthened all the time."
The college has also launched a Center for Transdisciplinary Evidence-based Practice to facilitate the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practice throughout Ohio State’s healthcare system as well as at others across the country.
“Educational programs are behind on this. Many tend to still teach students at the bachelor’s and master’s levels the rigorous process of how to do research versus how to use the research that’s being produced and get it into the real-world setting at a much faster pace," she said.
“Unless we have some drastic changes in both our clinical practice environment as well as our education systems, it’s going to be a long haul until every clinician in this country consistently delivers evidence-based care."
Co-authors of the study include Ellen Fineout-Overholt of East Texas Baptist University, Lynn Gallagher-Ford of Ohio State’s College of Nursing and Louise Kaplan of the American Nurses Association.