• Advanced practice nurse (APN);
  • clinical decision making;
  • decision making;
  • computers;
  • evidence-based practice;
  • information technology;
  • nurse practitioners



To assess family nurse practitioner (FNP) student perception of research abstract usefulness in clinical decision making.

Data sources

A randomized controlled trial conducted in a simulated environment with graduate FNP students of the Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Given a clinical case study and modified MEDLINE search tool accessible via an iPad device, participants were asked to develop a treatment plan and complete a data collection form. The primary measure was perceived usefulness of the research abstracts in clinical decision making regarding a simulated obese patient seeking to prevent type 2 diabetes. Secondary measures related to participant demographics and accessibility and usefulness of full-text manuscripts.


The majority of NP students identified readily available research abstracts as useful in shaping their clinical decision making. The presence or absence of full-text manuscripts associated with the abstracts did not appear to influence the perceived abstract usefulness. The majority of students with full-text manuscript access in the timed simulated clinical encounter read at least one paper, but cited insufficient time to read full-text as a constraint.

Implications for practice

Research abstracts at point of care may be valuable to FNPs if easily accessible and integrated into clinical workflow.