ANGUS J, HODNETT E and O’BRIEN-PALLAS L. Nursing Inquiry 2003; 10: 218–228
Implementing evidence-based nursing practice: a tale of two intrapartum nursing units
Despite concerns that the rise of evidence-based practice threatens to transform nursing practice into a performative exercise disciplined by scientific knowledge, others have found that scientific knowledge is by no means the preeminent source of knowledge within the dynamic settings of health-care. We argue that the contexts within which evidence-based innovations are implemented are as influential in the outcomes as the individual practitioners who attempt these changes. A focused ethnography was done in follow-up to an earlier trial that evaluated the effectiveness of a marketing strategy to encourage the adoption of evidence-based intrapartum nursing practice. Bourdieu's (1990, 1991) concepts of habitus, capital and social field were used in our refinement of the analysis of the ethnographic findings. Nursing leadership, interprofessional struggle with physicians, the characteristics of the community and the physical environment were prominent issues at all of the sites. Detailed descriptions of the sociohistorical context and of the experiences at two sites are presented to illustrate the complexities encountered when implementing innovations.