• barriers;
  • clinical practice;
  • facilitators;
  • Republic of Ireland;
  • research utilization

Background.  Studies have consistently demonstrated that nurses are increasingly recognizing the role research has to play in their daily practice. Despite this recognition the actual application of research findings in the practice setting is still poor. To date, the barriers to implementing research findings in the Republic of Ireland's practice setting have not been explored empirically. This study sought to address this gap.

Aims.  The aims of this study were to ascertain what Registered Nurses practising in the Republic of Ireland perceive as barriers to the implementation of research findings in the practice setting and to explore what they perceive would facilitate them in using research findings in their daily practice.

Design.  Cross-sectional survey.

Methods.  A non-probability strategy was employed with all Registered Nurses who commenced a nursing-focused academic course accredited by the University of Dublin, Trinity College, between September 2001 and February 2002 invited to participate. The ethical rights of the participants in terms of anonymity, privacy and informed consent were assured through a number of mechanisms. Data were collected via the Barriers scale.

Findings.  Eight of the top 10 ranked barriers were organization centred. The top barrier was a perception of insufficient authority to instigate change in the practice setting. The perceived key facilitators to implementing research findings included protected time for retrieval and evaluation of research findings, instrumental support from management, informed supportive personnel in the practice settings and accessible educational opportunities to augment critical reading skills.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The Irish Government is committed to provide the people of Ireland with an evidence-based health service. From a nursing perspective the findings of this study indicate that a number of strategies have to be introduced or enhanced in the practice settings before this commitment can be realized.