EVITECH: A Pilot Study Exploring Ways to Optimise the Uptake of Evidence-Based Practice to Undergraduate Nurses

Thursday, 2 August 2012: 1:35 PM

Louise D. Hickman, BN, RN, MPH, PhD
Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Technology, Sydney, Lindfield NSW, Australia
Jane L. Phillips, PhD
School of Nursing, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Darlinghurst, Australia
Helen Louise Kelly, RN, BN (Hons)
PO Box 944, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia

Learning Objective 1: To identify facilitators and barriers to student engagement in knowledge utilisation and translation units of study.

Learning Objective 2: To determine effective teaching and learning strategies that build undergraduate nurses evidenced based practice capabilities.

Background: Undergraduate nursing students are frequently reticent to engage with knowledge utilisation and translation skill development, although this is a critical role of all universities in narrowing the evidence practice gap.

Aims: 1) Identify facilitators and barriers to student engagement in knowledge utilisation and translation; 2) determine effective teaching and learning strategies to build undergraduate nurses evidenced based practice capabilities.

Significance: Evidence-based practice capabilities are important to improve patient outcomes, promoting organisational efficiencies and create satisfying work environments. Effective robust evidence needs to guide the most effective way to build knowledge translation skills.

Methodology: This mixed methods study collected data from a three year period (2008-10) and utilized a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach. Three cohorts of undergraduate nurses (N=188) enrolled in a knowledge translation and utilisation unit at one Australian university participated in the study.

Results: Preliminary investigation Unit Content Evaluation (UCE) data revealed over half (55%) of undergraduate nurses were satisfied overall. Sixteen individual UCE items were broken into four sub-groups: materials, resources, teaching and workload. These sub-groups underpinned key priority areas for PDSA cycles 1 and 2.

PDSA cycle 1 demonstrated significant improvement overall (p > 0.05) between 2008-09 and significant improvements in the material (p>0.001) and teaching sub-groups (p> 0.05).

PDSA cycle 2 in 2010 demonstrated significant improvement overall from 2008 (p > 0.05). Qualitative reflective data within PDSA cycle 2 identified four themes: 1) What engages students in the learning process; 2) The student nurse learning trajectory; 3) Student nurse preconceptions of research and evidenced-based practice; and 4) Appreciating the importance of research to nursing.

Discussion and implications: There are more effective methods of teaching knowledge utilisation and translation to nursing students. Effective engagement of nursing students in knowledge translation units will have immediate and long term benefits for nursing as a profession and the care patients receive.