Implementation Science for Evidence-Based Practice at the Graduate Level

Monday, July 11, 2011: 12:00 AM

Sally A. Decker, PhD, RN
Elizabeth Roe, RN, PhD
Nursing, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, MI

Learning Objective 1: To identify three major documents that contribute to implementation of evidence-based practice

Learning Objective 2: To describe an assignment to evaluate the competencies of graduate nursing students in implementation of evidence-based practice

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) at the graduate level builds on the undergraduate ability to locate and rate evidence. At the graduate level, the ability to make changes in practice based on evidence is essential. Students need to identify the unique aspects of the agency environment that determine the method they would use to create change. In creating an assignment to demonstrate this competency, the following three items were used: 1. Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competencies for advanced practice; 2.  “Nursing Implementation Science: How Evidence-Based Nursing Required Evidence-Based Implementation” by Achterberg, Schoonhoven and Grol; and 3. Change theory. The QSEN graduate level knowledge competencies which address this are to analyze how the strengths of available evidence influence the provision of care and evaluate organizational cultures and structures that promote EBP. The skills include developing guidelines for clinical decision-making regarding departure from established protocols/standards of care and Participating in designing systems that support evidence-based practice. The article by Achtergerg, Schoonhoven and Grol (2008) reinforces the QSEN competencies and suggests a specific model that can guide the assignment.  The seven steps described in this article are specific guides to students learning this process. The last five steps addressing making practice change include: describing specific change targets, analysis of target group (current practice and content), development, selection of strategies, development and execution of implementation plan and continuous evaluation and adapting plan.Change theory, selected by the student based on their assessment of the agency provides a theoretical model for the project. This assignment, with specific steps for change, resulted in more of the students addressing specifics of the agency and more exploration of organizational culture versus the previous EBP assignment.  The agency staff also report that assignments done this way are more directly applicable to practice.