Misconceptions Among Nurses About Evidence-Based Practice


  • Bonnie Mowinski Jennings,

    Corresponding author
    1. Bonnie Mowinski Jennings, RN, DNSc, FAAN, Alpha Eta, Colonel, U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Deputy Director, Health Program Analysis and Evaluation, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), TRICARE Management Activity, Falls Church, VA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lori A. Loan

    1. Lori A. Loan, RNC, PhD, Psi-at-large, Chief, Nursing Research Service, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA
    Search for more papers by this author

  • The opinions and assertions contained herein are the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Army Medical Department, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense. The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Nancy Staggers, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Utah, and Dr. Sandra Rogers, Associate Academic Vice President, Brigham Young University, for their thorough and thoughtful critiques of earlier drafts of this manuscript. They are also deeply grateful for the support of the staff at the Armed Forces Medical Library who located many of the references used in this paper, and Ms. Kathi Hamilton, Research Protocol Coordinator, who was instrumental in preparing the manuscript for submission.

COL. Jennings: 6828 Lamp Post Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306. E-mail: bonnie.jennings@tma.osd.mil


Purpose: To delineate the origins and fundamental tenets of evidence-based practice (EBP) and to enhance understanding of this important term.

Methods: A critical review of the literature pertaining to evidence-based practice from the fields of medicine and nursing, including international reports.

Findings: The roots of EBP indicate this term is not a synonym for research utilization but rather is the rubric for a set of epistemologic assumptions. Key components of EBP include evidence hierarchies and systematic reviews. Differences were found between the views of EBP presented in papers published by nurses within the US compared to those published by nurses outside the US.

Conclusions: The literature shows incongruity in the interpretation of the basic tenets of the evidence-based paradigm. Additionally, nurses may underestimate implications of the evidence-based movement. These two problems impede nurses' participation as full partners in the advancement of evidence-based practice. They also represent a call to action to achieve a more standardized framework for advancing EBP in nursing.