• consultant midwife;
  • consultant nurse;
  • evidence-based practice;
  • leadership;
  • research barriers

Aims  To determine the extent to which clinical nursing practice has adopted research evidence. To identify barriers to the application of research findings in practice and to propose ways of overcoming these barriers.

Background  Way back in 1976, nursing and midwifery practice started adopting research evidence. By 1990s, there was some transparency of research evidence in practice, but more could have been done to widen its adoption. Many barriers were identified which could hinder implementation of the evidence in practice, and the effort to remove these remains weak.

Evaluation  25 research articles from across Europe and America were selected, and scrutinized, and recommendations analysed.

Findings  Many clinical practitioners report a lack of time, ability and motivation to appraise research reports and adopt findings in practice. The clinical environment was not seen as research friendly as there were a general lack of research activities and facilities locally. There was a clear lack of research leadership in practice.

Implication for nursing management  This paper reviewed the research evidence from several published research papers and provides consultant nurses with practical suggestions on how to enhance research evidence application in their practice. It recommends how consultant nurses can make their practice more research transparent by providing the required leadership, creating a research-friendly organization, developing a clear research agenda and facilitating staff develop a local research framework for reading research and implementing research evidence in their practice.