Integrating Evidence-Based Practice in a Nursing Curriculum Based on the RNAO Guidelines Using Action Research

Monday, 9 November 2015: 3:55 PM

Christa Van der Walt, PhD, MSocSc, MEd, BEd, BArtetSc, RN, RM
INSINQ Research Focus Area, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Sharon Vasuthevan, PhD, MCur, BCur (Hons), BCur, RN, RM, RPN, RCN, NE, FANSA
Nursing Department, Life Healthcare Group, Illovo, South Africa
J. C. (Irene) Lubbe, PhD, MSocSc, RN, RM
College of Learning, Life Healthcare College of Learning, Illovo, South Africa
P. J. Smith, BCur, IetA, RN, RM
Life Healthcare Group (Pty)Ltd, Forum for professional nurse leaders , National Education Association, Fellow of the academy of nurses in SA, Sandton, South Africa

Problem statement

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is increasingly emphasized in healthcare, nursing practice and nursing and miwifery curricula.  The same applies to South Africa.  Nursing Education Institutions in South Africa need to provide evidence of how EBP is integrated throughout their curricula during accreditation visits from the South African Nursing Council, peer and external reviews. The past three decades much has been invested in research and implementation exercises to close the practice theory gap and to answer to the quest for excellence and accountability.  Although a wide vocabularly is used, best practice guidelines (BPGs) or evidence-based guidelines are continuously developed.  The BPGs developed by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is an example of the commitment to EBP.  Nurse educators should foster the use of Best Practice Guidelines in nursing and midwifery education and take the lead in integrating the principles of EBP and best practices in their curricula, teaching and learning strategies.  This paper provides evidence of the first phases of integrating EBP in the undergraduate nursing curriculum using an action learning action research approach and the methodology recommended by RNAO.


An Action Research approach (McNiff & Whitehead 2011) was used to describe the integration of EBP in the nursing curriculum of the participating Nursing Education Institution.  We used Action Research to comply to the requirements of RNAO for BPG integration in the nursing and midwifery curriculum. RNAO Guidelines and Toolkits and the implementation drivers described by the NIRN (National Implementation Research Network) were utilised. We followed the  typical cyclic process of planning, action and reflection whilst continuously capturing data, validating the data and making knowledge claims, and modifying practice.  We will share the lessons we learned and our experience of the conceptualization and integration of EBP in the nursing curriculum of the participating Nursing Education Institution.


The Guidelines and Toolkits of RNAO and the NIRN provide valuable planning, monitoring and assessment framework for the integration of EBP in a nursing curriculum.  Using implementation drivers to assess the implementation of EBP in the nursing curriculum was a useful way to identify areas that need additional attention and provided valuable process and outcome data.