Promoting evidence-based care through a clinical research fellowship programme


  • Donna J Milne PhD, RN, MN,

  • Meinir Krishnasamy PhD, RN,

  • Linda Johnston PhD, RN,

  • Sanchia Aranda PhD

D Milne
Department of Nursing Education and Research
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
The University of Melbourne
Locked Bag 1
A'Beckett Street Victoria
Vic. 8006
Telephone: +61 3 9656 3783


Aim.  This paper reports on the development and evaluation of a multidisciplinary critical appraisal and research utilization-training programme at one organization with the aim of demonstrating a potential approach to the challenge of ensuring practice is evidence based.

Background.  Considerable time and attention is devoted to developing and evaluating new clinical innovations. Nevertheless, it is estimated that a quarter of patients continue to receive treatments that are unnecessary or potentially harmful.

Design.  A cross-sectional qualitative evaluation survey of nurses and allied health staff participating in the training programme.

Methods.  After running the programme twice at this organization we sought to evaluate the impact of the programme. Participants were asked to write answers to open-ended questions to examine personal and professional outcomes of participation.

Results.  All respondents found the programme to be worthwhile and beneficial to their everyday practice. Importantly, participants reported feeling more confident when discussing clinical issues within the multidisciplinary team. The majority have presented their work via oral presentations or in publications and many have gone on to enrol in higher degrees.

Conclusions.  A critical appraisal and research utilization programme, as described here, has benefits for clinicians in terms of building confidence, knowledge and skill acquisition and also for the organization in terms of provision of evidence-based care and quality and safety. It successfully addresses commonly reported barriers to research utilization.

Relevance to clinical practice.  A programme such as the Clinical Research Fellowship increases clinicians’ ability and confidence to generate research questions that are meaningful to practice and then investigate the issue in a rigorous and timely manner.