Nurse managers are often “serious barriers” to preventing the implementation of new evidence-based practice by other nursing staff, US researchers have claimed.
Researchers from Ohio State University randomly selected 20,000 members of the American Nurses Association, of which 1,015 completed a survey on evidence-based practice.
Less than half of respondents, 46.4%, agreed findings from research studies were routinely implemented to improve patient outcomes at their organisation.
Fewer than a third said mentors were available in their healthcare setting to help them learn more about how to adopt evidence-based practices.
Lead author Bernadette Melnyk, dean of the university’s college of nursing, said: “Another disconcerting finding in our survey was that a substantive number of nurses said their leader or manager is resistant to evidence-based practice.
“If leaders do not role model evidence-based decision-making and they are not providing tools, education and resources for their clinicians to get the knowledge and skills they need to consistently implement this, it’s probably not going to happen nor will it be sustained.”
Other barriers to evidence-based practice identified by nurses included “politics and organisational cultures that avoid change”.
Ms Melnyk said such barriers were a “huge problem” that was preventing the best outcomes for patients.
“The average age of nurses [in the US] is 47, and they were educated at a time when evidence-based practice was not well integrated into educational programs,” she said. “As a result, many nurses are practicing the way they were taught or steeped in tradition of the healthcare system in which they work.
“When new graduates who have learned to take an evidence-based approach to care are meeting these nurses in real-world settings, they encounter this prevalence of a ‘this is the way we do it here’ culture.”
Ms Melnyk said the findings indicated the need for widespread cultural change in healthcare settings and a new direction in nursing education.
She suggested nursing faculties tended to emphasise teaching research methods and critique of existing research, rather than how to put research findings to use in clinical practice settings.
The study is published in the Journal of Nursing Administration.