An Evaluation of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes toward Evidence-Based Practice in On-Line Graduate Nursing Students

Monday, 9 November 2015

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

Background: Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an essential element in driving health care delivery and practice. The need to create a culture that values the practice of evidence-based nursing education through the design and evaluation of the education strategies is imperative. In spite of positive outcomes associated with EBP, many healthcare providers do not implement or adopt EBP. Little is known about the on-line graduate nursing students’ EBP knowledge, attitudes, and skills/practice related to EBP and research.

Purpose: This study aimed to assess changes in EBP knowledge, attitudes, skills/practice among graduate on-line nursing students before and after they enroll in the evidence-based practice course at a private University in Midwestern, US.

Methods: A descriptive study with pre and post-test evaluation of students’ knowledge, skills/practice, and attitudes toward EBP was conducted. The study sample included 63 on-line graduate students enrolled in the EBP and Research Methods course. Main study outcomes were measured using the Evidence-Based Practice Questionnaires (EBPQ) administering before and after completion of the EBP and Research Methods course. The EBPQ has been validated with acceptable reliability and validity. Descriptive statistics and sample t test were used to assess the mean differences between pre-and post-test scores.

Results: Students’ overall EBPQ scores were significantly improved following completion of the EBP and Research Methods course t(63) = -9.034; p <.001.  Statistically significant differences were found for skills/practice mean scores t(63) = -12.78; p = .001, however, no significant differences were found on knowledge and attitude mean scores. Most reported barriers to EBP included lack of understanding of statistics, interpretation of findings, lack of time, and library resources.

Summary: This is one of a few studies that evaluated on-line graduate nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills/practice related to EBP. The findings suggest a systematic plan for implementing future EBP and Research Methods courses and interventions that address barriers to EBP among on-line graduate nursing students. Future research is needed to identify graduate nurses’ knowledge and adoption of EBP upon graduation.