• clinical practice;
  • cluster analysis;
  • evidence-based practice;
  • nurses;
  • postgraduation;
  • questionnaire;
  • research use


Title. Research use in clinical practice – extent and patterns among nurses one and three years postgraduation.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of nurses’ research use in clinical practice one and three years postgraduation in Sweden.

Background.  Internationally, learning to critically appraise and use research is an educational objective within nursing training, with the aim of promoting research use in nursing practice. The extent to which these skills is acquired and used among relatively newly graduated nurses is largely unexplored, however.

Method.  A descriptive study was conducted in 2006 using a national longitudinal survey of two nursing cohorts one (n = 1,365) and three (n = 933) years postgraduation. The self-reported extent of instrumental, conceptual and persuasive research use was measured. Data were analysed using both variable- and pattern-oriented approaches based on cluster analysis.

Results.  Research use was reported to occur in about half or fewer of the working shifts. In both samples, seven clusters of nurses with different research use profiles were identified. Clusters representing overall low and very low users in all three types of research use were predominant both at one (45·6%) and three (51·6%) years postgraduation, whereas clusters of nurses reporting overall high research use were uncommon. The proportion of very low users was larger 3 years after graduation than 1 year after graduation.

Conclusions.  The low extent of reported research use, raises the question of whether scientific perspectives included in nursing education are translated into clinical application. The pattern-oriented approach illustrates the complexity of research use and identification of typical research use profiles in specific contexts may have potential to guide interventions aimed at supporting evidence-based practice.