"Nurses have come a long way in a few short decades. In
the past our attention focused on physical, mental, and emotional healing. Now
we talk of healing your life, healing the environment, and healing the planet"
-Lynn Keegan, 1994
BARRIERS TO RESEARCH UTILIZATION
Barriers to and
facilitators of research utilization in perioperative nursing practice)
Absence of published research on
specific clinical issues.
Published research may have
limitations (eg, sample size, design) that restrict the ability to generalize
results to clinical practice settings.
Nurses may lack experience reading
and critiquing research reports and may have difficulty interpreting study
designs and statistical findings.
These factors are compounded by the
fact that many research projects--especially theses and dissertations--never
are published or presented, making their findings inaccessible to staff
Investigators may not approach
research from a clinical perspective
Use of research jargon makes it
difficult for staff nurses to understand or interpret study results.
Published research may have few
Staff nurses may not read nursing
Research reports most often are
presented to audiences of researchers; therefore, pertinent clinical findings
may not reach nurses who can use these new ideas in patient care.
Traditional nursing education and
Entry-level nursing programs place
varying degrees of importance on research and research utilization.
Many of today's experienced staff
nurses did not study research during their basic nursing programs and have not
had opportunities to do so through continuing education programs.
Only since the late 1970s have most
nursing baccalaureate programs have begun including specific research content
in their curricula.
Even today, few associate degree
nursing programs provide research content.
Administrative barriers (eg, lack of
time, money, clinical resources) that thwart research utilization activities.
Nurse administrators may not value
or recognize the importance of research-based practice, and clinical
environments may not sanction research utilization.
Limited access to experts who are
knowledgeable about research methods
Practice settings and academia may
not collaborate on research efforts, and limited library resources may affect
staff nurses' ability to find research to use in their practices.
Lack of questioning. This lack of
questioning contributes to research problems not being identified.
Traditions in nursing are accepted
as fact. And questioning traditions may not be regarded highly in clinical
settings that offer few incentives for nurses to use research.
Not all nursing textbooks
acknowledge existing research or discuss how opinion guides nursing practice.
Nurses may not value research
utilization or understand how it differs from actually conducting research.
FACILITATORS OF RESEARCH
The most crucial factor in
facilitating research utilization is the identification of clinically relevant
problems and issues.
Other facilitating factors include
environments in which individuals are committed to critical thinking and to
the research utilization process.
Nursing administrators who provide
adequate resources (eg, personnel, money, time) help promote research
Staff nurses in these environments
benefit from having increased understanding of research and research
Nurse administrators facilitate
research utilization when they clearly communicate to staff nurses the value
of research utilization and provide incentives.
Negotiating linkages between
practice settings and academia, nurse administrators can support collaboration
between novice and expert researchers.
Nurse administrators can work with
medical librarians to facilitate staff nurses' access to the nursing
literature by negotiating flexible library hours and computerized literature
searches using the Internet.
ASSESS YOUR CLINICAL SETTING
Nurses in each clinical setting
must identify barriers and facilitators to research utilization.
What barriers or facilitators exist
in your clinical setting?
Does your organization value
research and encourage research utilization?
Are people willing to help you use
research findings in your practice?
Are resources available to
facilitate your use of research findings?
Are your colleagues willing to try
new clinical practice ideas?