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How occupational health care professionals experience evidence-based guidelines in Finland: a qualitative study


Dr Maritta Kinnunen-Amoroso, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A 00250 Helsinki, Finland, E-mail:


Aims and objectives  Evidence-based guidelines are currently the most relevant source of information in practice. The adherence to and use of guidelines is often influenced by attitudes towards the guidelines themselves, which have not been sufficiently explored in occupational health. This study examines the attitude of Finnish occupational nurses’ and doctors’ attitudes towards evidence-based guidelines.

Methods  Ten occupational doctors and eight occupational nurses were interviewed in Southern Finland on their attitudes towards evidence-based guidelines in 2009.

Results  The nurses were not very familiar with the concept of evidence-based medicine. Rather, they used recommendations developed in their workplace or by their employer. The evidence base of these recommendations was not clear. The doctors considered the evidence-based guidelines reliable and practical, but did not always act according to them. Participants felt that they did not have time to check guidelines during their working hours. Participants wished for clearer, shorter guidelines on occupational health care topics, which would help in their practical daily work and clarify roles in teamwork.

Conclusions  Based on these positive attitudes, the use of guidelines may be more common than it seems. The viewpoints of all occupational health professional groups should be taken into account in guideline development, particularly on the availability and usability of the guidelines.