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Evidence Based Practice: Is the Evidence Getting Through?

July 25th, 2007  |  The Wind Beneath Our Wings: A Look at Nursing Research

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Does our nurse friend look familiar? Have you been there, done that? Does this cartoon sum up the story of your (professional) life?

Did you make the last meeting of your “journal club”? Is your stack of unread AJNs gathering dust in the corner? Oh, and how’s the research project going?

You don’t have time for all of the above?

Me, neither.

We are so busy practicing nursing that there is very little time for actually keeping up on research, let alone utilizing new evidence based practices.

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I happened upon a study in the February, 2007 issue of Applied Nursing Research that discusses the divide between research and actual practice. Nursing practice committees promote innovations and turn expert knowledge and research findings into standards of practice. Nursing research committees help build a research-friendly environment, encourage evidence based practice and serve as resources. You would think the work between these two groups would be seamless.

The researchers found a divide/gap between the research guiding nursing practice and the actual practice itself. In fact, when comparing their results to studies from ten years ago, they found virtually no change in how staff nurses implemented research findings. One remedy proposed was adding a hospital-based nurse researcher career track so that nurses can blend their research and clinical interests.

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This is a thought provoking study.

Those working in a large metropolitan medical center comprised of a hospital and medical school would find it very applicable to their situation, I’m sure.

For those of us who work outside teaching institutions in small community hospitals, the idea of a nurse researcher career track seems unworkable, to say the least.

Given that the “traditional venue for nursing research has been the academe”, how does this assist nurses outside of the teaching facilities when there is a noted gap between research and practice in the actual research setting?

How do you get the research to filter down to the bedside staff nurses who work outside those academic institutions, in facilities that don’t have a research committee?

Sounds like a research study waiting for a home, if you ask me!

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Resource: Smirnoff, M., Ramirez, M., Kooplimae, L., Gibney, M., & McEvoy, M. (2007). Nurses’ attitudes towards nursing research at a metropolitan medical center. Applied Nursing Research, 20(1), 24-31.

Kim McAllister, RN
About Kim McAllister, RN
After 29 years as an RN, I decided I needed a change. So, I decided to keep working as an RN and blog now and then at emergiblog.com. Two years later, I'm blogging full time and actually went back to school for my BSN. I'm based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. After stints in Coronary Care, Intensive Care, Telemetry, Telephone Advice and Psychiatry, I found my niche in emergency nursing and have spent the last 16 years in that specialty. That's where I am today — full time blogger, emergency nurse and now columnist for Nursing Jobs.org!

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