Factors influencing the development of evidence-based practice: a research tool


Kate Gerrish:
e-mail: k.gerrish@shu.ac.uk


Title. Factors influencing the development of evidence-based practice: a research tool

Aim.  The paper reports a study to develop and test a tool for assessing a range of factors influencing the development of evidence-based practice among clinical nurses.

Background.  Achieving evidence-based practice is a goal in nursing frequently cited by the profession and in government health policy directives. Assessing factors influencing the achievement of this goal, however, is complex. Consideration needs to be given to a range of factors, including different types of evidence used to inform practice, barriers to achieving evidence-based practice, and the skills required by nurses to implement evidence-based care.

Methods.  Measurement scales currently available to investigate the use of evidence in nursing practice focus on nurses’ sources of knowledge and on barriers to the use of research evidence. A new, wider ranging Developing Evidence-Based Practice questionnaire was developed and tested for its measurement properties in two studies. In study 1, a sample of 598 nurses working at two hospitals in one strategic health authority in northern England was surveyed. In study 2, a slightly expanded version of the questionnaire was employed in a survey of 689 community nurses in 12 primary care organizations in two strategic health authorities, one in northern England and the other in southern England.

Findings.  The measurement characteristics of the new questionnaire were shown to be acceptable. Ten significant, and readily interpretable, factors were seen to underlie nurses’ relation to evidence-based practice.

Conclusion.  Strategies to promote evidence-based practice need to take account of the differing needs of nurses and focus on a range of sources of evidence. The Developing Evidence-Based Practice questionnaire can assist in assessing the specific ‘evidencing’ tendencies of any given group of nurses.