- • Although health professionals are expected to use the findings of research to guide them in their practice, it seems that many nurses do not do this. In a survey, we asked psychiatric nurses in Ireland about the things that prevented them from using the findings of research to guide them in their practice.
- • The psychiatric nurses in our survey told us that they do not have sufficient time to look up the research that is published in journals, that they cannot find research in journals when they look for it and that they find the research reports difficult to understand.
- • The majority of psychiatric nurses in our survey told us that they are more confident in finding information on the Internet and less confident in using research findings, and that when they wish to improve their practice based on research findings, they get most support from the senior nurse with responsibility for practice development.
- • The findings of this paper are important because they tell us that psychiatric nurses face obstacles in trying to achieve more scientifically informed practice.
Evidence-based practice places an emphasis on integration of clinical expertise with available best evidence, patient's clinical information and preferences, and with local health resources. This paper reports the findings of a study that investigated the barriers, facilitators and skills in developing evidence-based practice among psychiatric nurses in Ireland. A postal survey was conducted among a random sample of Irish psychiatric nurses and survey data were collected using the Development of Evidence-Based Practice Questionnaire. Respondents reported that insufficient time to find and read research reports and insufficient resources to change practice were the greatest barriers to the development of evidence-based practice. Practice development coordinators were perceived as the most supportive resource for changing practice. Using the Internet to search for information was the highest-rated skill and using research evidence to change practice was the lowest-rated skill for developing evidence-based practice. Nurses' precursor skills for developing evidence-based practice, such as database searching and information retrieval, may be insufficient in themselves for promoting evidence-based practice if they cannot find evidence relating to their particular field of practice or if they do not have the time, resources and supports to develop their practice in response to evidence.