• barriers assessment;
  • clinical practice guidelines;
  • implementing change;
  • leadership;
  • management;
  • taxonomy


Understanding the types of barriers that exist when implementing change can assist healthcare managers to tailor implementation strategies for optimal patient outcomes.


The aim of this paper is to present an organising framework, the Barriers Assessment Taxonomy, for understanding barriers to nurses' use of clinical practice guideline recommendations. Barriers to recommendations are illustrated using the Barriers Assessment Taxonomy and insights discussed.


As part of a pilot implementation study, semi-structured interviews (= 26) were conducted to understand barriers to nurses' use of nine guideline recommendations for diabetic foot ulcers. Content analysis of verbatim transcripts included thematic coding and categorising barriers using the Barriers Assessment Taxonomy.


Nineteen barriers were associated with nine recommendations, crossing five levels of the health care delivery system. The Barriers Assessment Taxonomy revealed that all recommendations had individual and organisational level barriers, with one recommendation having barriers at all levels. Individual level barriers were most frequent and lack of knowledge and skills was the only barrier that crossed all recommendations.

Implications for nursing management

The Barriers Assessment Taxonomy provides a framework for nursing managers to understand the complexity of barriers that exist, and can assist in choosing intervention strategies to support improved quality care and patient outcomes.