Evidence-Based Practice Starting Blocks: Academics and Practice Collaboration

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Mary Kay Welle, MSN, RN, CNS, ONC
Department of Nursing, Saint Mary's College, South Bend, IN

Learning Objective 1: Identify components necessary to launch a successful Evidence-Based Practice Project initiated by a collaborative effort between nursing students and staff nurses.

Learning Objective 2: Understand the benefits of an academic/practice partnership for the initiation of an Evidence-Based Practice Project by staff nurses in collaboration with student nurses.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to review the evidence regarding nursing academic/practice partnerships in initiating  Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) projects between staff nurses and academia.   

Methods: Nursing academic/practice partnership studies regarding EBP were analyzed and reviewed. Evaluation of sources used for the study was rated to level of evidence and quality grading according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).   

Results: Components necessary to launch a successful EBP project were identified and outlined. Successful EBP projects cannot be achieved unless nurses are ready. Staff nurses are lacking in readiness to initiate EBP due to gaps in informational literacy skills, limited access to high quality informational resources, and a perceived lack of value of research in practice. For nursing students EBP is advertised as a component of learning but is usually covered in just one course, the how to conduct research is taught but not how it comes alive in practice. Students have a negative attitude about research and also perceive it as difficult. EBP in the clinical setting is usually directed from the top down. In regards to a nursing academic/practice partnership, nursing faculty are perceived by staff nurses as intimidating. Staff nurses are more receptive to learning from students regarding EBP. In order to achieve a favorable academic/practice partnership, mutual benefits must be identified, clear structure and expectations need to be present, and all contributors must be valued.    

Conclusion: Collaborative nursing academic/practice partnership pathways should be considered in regards to initiating EBP projects. Readiness needs to be assessed prior to starting a partnership. Roles and expectations must be delineated and all contributors appreciated. Collaboration between academia and practice are rich in opportunities for staff nurses and students to learn from one another, to make research come alive, and to change attitudes about the value of research.