Determining Nurses' Readiness for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

Thiel OP. PhD RN, Linda, Dawn Klem MSN RN, Pauline Hayes BSN RN, and Kim Mason BSN RN CCRN

Purpose.  The purpose of this study was to examine registered nurses' perception of readiness for evidence-based practice, prior to instituting an evidence based practice initiative. 

Research Questions.  1) What are EBP informational needs of nurses?  2) What are nurses' perceptions of their ability to engage in EBP?  3) What are nurses’ attitudes toward EBP?

Background.  Prior to instituting evidence-based practice (EBP), the Evidence-Based Nursing Practice Committee decided to assess nurses' readiness for EBP.  The literature indicated EBP can be influenced by information literacy (informational needs), EBP skills and knowledge, and attitudes toward EBP.  Valid tool were available to measure the areas of interest (Provocoff, et al, 2005; Thiel & Ghosh, 2008).

Participants/Subjects.  The survey was distributed to a convenience sample of 390 registered nurses working in a moderate size teaching hospital and associated hospice /homecare services and birthing center in Midwestern United States.  Data collection occurred over a two-week period.  The study received approval from the hospital’s IRB.

Methods.  A descriptive design was used.  The survey was distributed to nurses in three settings:  1) acute care hospital 2) hospice/homecare 3) stand alone birthing center.  The 55-item survey measured informational needs using a modified version of Information Literacy for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice© tool (Provikoff et al. 2005), Ability to Engage in EBP (Thiel & Ghosh, 2008) and Nurses’ Attitudes Toward EBP Scale (Thiel & Ghosh, 2008).  Two sites collected data electronically; one used pen-and-paper.  Items were measured using dichotomous, categorical, and interval level data.

Results.  The survey was completed by 145 participants (37% return rate). Most of the participants (88%) were staff nurses and between the age of 30 and 59 (86%).   Major reasons for not using evidence (excluding not having enough time) were:  1) difficulty accessing research material and 2) lack of knowledge about research.  Overall, participants were comfortable using the Internet, however there was a high level of discomfort in using professional databases.  Attitudes toward EBP and perceived knowledge and skills to engage in EBP were low. 

Implications for Nursing.  The assessment data provides information for EBP program roll-out and planning.  An action plan includes presentation of findings at Unit-Based Council meetings and formal EBP education programs.   Data can also be used to evaluate initiatives; compare baseline findings with post-initiative findings.