Nurses’ perceptions of evidence-based nursing practice


M. Koehn: e-mail:


Title. Nurses’ perceptions of evidence-based nursing practice.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to investigate Registered Nurses’ perceptions, attitudes and knowledge/skills associated with evidence-based practice.

Background.  Evidence-based practice has emerged as a marker for healthcare quality. Previous studies have primarily used researcher-developed descriptive surveys to examine nurses’ perceptions, as well as facilitators and barriers, related to evidence-based practice. Research suggests the value of understanding the organizational context prior to taking steps to implement evidence-based practice.

Methods.  This study, conducted in 2006, had a descriptive, cross-sectional survey design using a psychometrically-validated measure of evidence-based practice. All Registered Nurses (= 1031) employed by a large medical centre in the United States of America were asked to complete the questionnaires. The final response rate was 40·9% (= 422).

Findings.  Participants had moderate scores on practice and attitudes towards evidence-based practice. The knowledge/skills mean scores were somewhat lower. Statistically significant differences were found for attitudes between those with baccalaureate and higher education compared to those with associate and diploma education. The two most cited barriers to implementing evidence-based practice were time and knowledge.

Conclusion.  The findings suggest the value of a methodical assessment when developing a systematic plan for implementing an institutional culture of evidence-based practice.