Aim To examine practicing nurses’ attitudes and knowledge of evidence-based practice.
Background Health care providers acknowledge that health care decisions should be grounded in current evidence. Limited evidence documents practicing nurses’ attitudes and knowledge regarding evidence-based practice.
Methods A descriptive survey was administered to 286 practicing nurses. Demographics of educational preparation, area of practice, years in practice, age and gender were collected.
Results The largest number of respondents held an associate degree (30.6%) or baccalaureate degree (29.5%). Thirty-seven per cent reported over 15 years experience in nursing. Forty-three percent reported 61–100% of their practice was evidence based. Fifty percent reported an ability to determine the validity of evidence, and 58% rated an ability to apply findings to individual cases positively. Administrative support of evidence-based practice was reported by only 5.5%.
Conclusions Nurses voiced agreement that their practice was evidence-based; however, they reported only an average ability to retrieve or critically analyse evidence.
Implications for nursing management The findings support the need for an educational intervention for practicing nurses regarding evidence-based practice. Role modelling and collaboration of nurse managers and educators will promote transition of evidence into clinical practice.