RESEARCH UTILIZATION IN NURSING PRACTICE: CLOSING THE GAP
Background and Significance: The gap between the conduct of nursing research and the use of research findings to improve practice has been discussed for more than two decades. Finding better strategies to increase research utilization was among the top priorities for the profession. Whereas the majority of studies focused on nurses working in the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom, little is known about to what extent Egyptian nurses working at Cairo University Teaching Hospitals utilize research findings in their daily practice. Identification of barriers to research utilization specific to Cairo University Teaching Hospitals will allow for program planning to resolve the nurses’ perceived barriers. Eventually, this will facilitate evidence-based practice, and ultimately improving the quality of healthcare.
Aim of the study: The purposes of this study were to: 1) Explore the sources of knowledge nurses working at Cairo University teaching hospitals use in their practice, 2) Identify the barriers to research utilization perceived by nurses, and 3) Describe the extent to which nurses are aware of current research findings relevant to their daily practice.
Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional survey was followed. A convenience sample of 193 register nurses practicing in Cairo University teaching hospitals completed the study questionnaire. A source of Knowledge Questionnaire was used to identify the knowledge nurses use in their practice. Also, the BARRIERS to Research Utilization Scale was used to assess clinicians’, administrators’, and academicians’ perceptions of barriers to research utilization. To examine to what extent nurses were aware of current research findings relevant to their daily practice. Eight multiple choice questions related to routine nursing care were formulated by the researcher.
Results: The highest responses reported by register nurses as frequently and always used in their daily practice regarding the sources of knowledge were information from policy and procedure manuals (59.7%), personal experience of nursing patients over time (56.8%), information learned in nursing school (48%), nurses intuitions about what seems to be “right” (45.4%) and the ways that they have always done it (45.3%). While the least sources of knowledge reported by the nurses as never and seldom used were articles published in Nursing and Medical Journals 48.2% and 46%, information from the media 26.6%, and textbooks 24%. The top five barriers reported as moderate or great barriers perceived by nurses were lack of authority to change patients’ care procedures (75.7%), nurse feeling that the results are not generalized to her own setting (73.5%), lack of clarity of the research report (71.2%), nurses not willing to change/try new ideas (70.5%), and lack of other nurses support of implementation (68.4%).
Conclusions: As nurses identifying the organization as a barrier, the organization can be used as a powerful tool to enhance research utilization and evidence-based practice Strategies should focus on organizational issues, including supportive leadership by the unit managers and collaboration between colleagues, staff, and physicians. Nurses preferred to use knowledge gained through personal experience rather than journal articles or textbooks. Thus, researchers need to understand why clinicians' valuing of experiential knowledge sources and to consider implementation strategies that are consistent with clinician preferences.