Nursing best practice statements: an exploration of their implementation in clinical practice


  • Nicola Ring BSc MSc RGN RSCN Dip HV,

  • Cari Malcolm BScN MSc PhD,

  • Alison Coull BN MSc RGN,

  • Tricia Murphy-Black MSc PhD RGN RM RCNT,

  • Andrew Watterson BA PhD FIOSH

Nicola Ring
Department of Nursing & Midwifery
University of Stirling
Stirling, FK9 4LE, UK
Telephone: +44 (0) 1786 466351


Aims and objectives.  To explore implementation of the first five Best Practice Statements from the perspective of nurses involved in their development.

Background.  Best Practice Statements were introduced in Scotland to encourage consistent evidence-based nursing practice. As a new initiative, research was required to investigate their clinical implementation.

Design and methods.  In this descriptive study, semi-structured interviews of a purposive sample of nurses (n = 15) were undertaken. Content analysis was used to identify themes emerging from the interview data.

Findings.  Four main themes emerged from analysis of transcripts: variations in use of the Best Practice Statements; benefits to patients; benefits to practitioners; and, barriers and drivers to use. Amongst participants, personal users adopted the statements in their own practice but enablers also actively encouraged others to use the statements. Whether participants acted as enablers depended on individual, team and organizational factors. The ability of participants to act as leaders was influential in determining their ability both to facilitate local implementation and to encourage others to regard the Best Practice Statements as a priority for implementation.

Conclusions.  This exploratory study highlighted examples of patients and practitioners benefiting from the Best Practice Statements. Such findings suggest these statements could become a useful tool in promoting evidence-based nursing practice. However, implementation of the Best Practice Statements varied between participants and their organizations. Nurses who were most effective in promoting local implementation of the Best Practice Statements adopted facilitator and leadership roles within their organizations.

Relevance to practice.  By relating research findings to the literature on guideline and research utilization, this study gives further insight into the implementation of evidence-based practice by nurses. In particular, it supports the conclusion that to be truly effective, initiatives to promote evidence-based practice require nurses to act as local facilitators and leaders.