Evidence-Based Practice Competencies Among Online Graduate Nursing Students

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 4:15 PM

Wilaiporn Rojjanasrirat, PhD, MA, BSN
School of Nursing, Graceland University, Independence, MO, USA

Background: Nursing professionals at all levels are called upon being competent in evidence-based practice. Thus, assessment of learning and teaching of EBP are essential components of nursing curricula to prepare graduates as effective providers for the future healthcare workforce. This project evaluated the development of EBP competencies among online graduate nursing students in Master’s (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs at a private university in Mid-Western, USA.

Purpose: To compare the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of EBP scores among three groups of online graduate nursing students; prior to the first EBP course at the beginning of the MSN and following completion of an EBP course at the end of the MSN program, and in the DNP program.

Design: A descriptive, comparative study was carried out in online graduate nursing programs.

Methods: The samples included 60 online graduate nursing students from three cohorts were invited to participate in the project. The new MSN students were asked to complete the survey prior to taking an EBP course. The exiting MSN and DNP student groups completed the survey following completion of the EBP application courses. The Evidence-based Practice Questionnaire (EBPQ) (Upton, 2006) was used to measure EBP competencies. Descriptive statistics ANOVA were used for comparison of EBP-KAP scores across groups.

Results: A total of 60 online graduate students participated in the survey. The mean age of students was 37 (SD=8.7). The mean EPB knowledge scores approached significance level among three group, F(2, 54) = 3.019, P = .057. Although a progressive increase in attitudes and practices of EBP scores was noted, no statistically significant differences among groups were found. Having research experience was the best predictor of EBP knowledge/skills (r = .29, P = .03). Years of experience as a professional nurse and completion of a research or EBP course in the past were not associated with knowledge/skill, attitudes or practice of EBP.

Conclusion: In this preliminary project, students EBP-KAP did not differ significantly across groups. The results may be from a lack of power associated with the test due to the small sample size. Further studies are needed to track students’ pre and post-test changes of each subscale for a more robust analysis and accurate interpretation of EBP competencies.