Renewing the Spirit of Nursing: Embracing Evidence-Based Practice in a Rural State

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 3:45 PM

Ann E. Sossong, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the challenges in developing and implementing EBP in a sparsely populated rural state.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the outcomes of EBP efforts and lessons learned in rural healthcare facilities.

Purpose: The Institute of Medicine (IOM), in efforts to reduce preventable deaths due to error in US hospitals, challenged healthcare educators to incorporate evidence-based concepts into their curriculum and health care delivery organizations to create systems that are patient-centered and evidence based. As the profession that has the most potential for influencing the quality of health care, nursing has increased efforts to incorporate EBP into all aspects of the profession; education, clinical practice and organizational systems.

Methods: A group of nursing leaders from several academic and healthcare organizations in the northern and central regions of Maine, a large sparsely populated rural region, established the Maine Nursing Practice Consortium (MNPC) as an innovative approach to meet the challenge. The goal of MNPC is to establish collaborative partnerships in the provision of educational opportunities through EBP workshops. Workshops are conducted using the Clinical Scholar Model. There is organizational and individual commitment from leaders representing Sigma Theta Tau International, acute and critical access hospitals, mental health institutions, and university and college schools of nursing.


Utilizing the EBP process, nursing students and practicing nurses have developed practice projects designed to provide safe, high quality, evidence-based care across multiple, diverse healthcare settings. Under the guidance of noted experts, nurses are presented with the challenge of implementing and sustaining EBP within their organizations while becoming transformational leaders in guiding other nurses in the use of multiple forms of evidence.


The EBP leaders through collaboration and consultation have ignited a spirit of inquiry and fostered active engagement of nurses from varied backgrounds in promoting EBP initiatives. They have gained organizational and individual commitments that are essential to the work to establishing a collaborative education and delivery partnership in a rural state.