Cognitive Maturity and Evidence-Based Practice Readiness Across Nursing Educational Levels

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mary Ann Thurkettle, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
Carolyn J. Nickerson, EdD, MSN, MA, RN, CNE
School of Nursing, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the cognitive maturity

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the rationale for the possible link between cognitive maturity and evidence-based practice readiness.

Purpose: This ongoing study examines the levels of cognitive maturity and readiness for evidence based practice in nursing students across program levels. Research Questions: The research questions are as follows: 1) What levels of cognitive maturity characterize nursing students at the following program levels: senior BSN, MSN, DNP (doctor of nursing practice), PhD students, who are within 6 months of completion of their respective programs? 2) What is the correlation between cognitive maturity level and evidenced based practice readiness? 3) What is the relative importance on cognitive maturity level and evidence based practice readiness of predictor variables of: age, gender, program level, previous degrees, academic achievement, and years of clinical/patient care experience?

Methods: A multi-site, cross-sectional, correlational design is used.  Data collection takes place through on-line completion of instruments. A convenience sample of 600 prospective respondents from five regions across the United States completed data collection instruments online. Based on the pilot response rate of 27.4%, this assured a response well beyond the minimum required to perform the regression analysis. Adequate sample size for six predictors to achieve statistical power of .90 with moderate effect size of .15 was determined using the statistical software, G*Power. To examine proportional representation, analysis will be conducted using the stratifying variables of gender, race, and program level. Three instruments were used: Reasoning about Current Issues (RCI) to measure cognitive development: Upton & Upton’s (2003) Evidence-Based Practice Questionnaire (EBPQ), and a Participant Demographic Form.

Results: Data collection was extended to assure an adequate number of doctoral students for analysis. Analysis will be complete in Spring 2011.

Conclusion: Significance: Findings provide groundwork for longitudinal study of cognitive developmental across the educational experience and for testing of educational strategies to promote development.

Funded by the National League for Nursing, submitted with their permission.