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Research-based practice: myth or reality? a review of the barriers affecting research utilisation in practice

Research-based practice: myth or reality? a review of the barriers affecting research utilisation in practice

Nurse Education in Practice 2(2): 99-108

ISSN/ISBN: 1471-5953

PMID: 19036286

DOI: 10.1054/nepr.2002.0058

A research-practice gap still exists despite the promotion and strategies for research-based practice by governments and nursing organisations. Hunt (1981 Journal of Advanced Nursing 12:101-110) and Walsh and Ford (1989 Nursing rituals: research and rati onal action. Butterworth-Heinemann) report a wealth of anecdotal evidence to support the failure of nurses to use research in practice. A body of evidence confirms that the number of identified barriers to research utilisation is great. Drawing on the wo rk of Rogers (1983 Diffusion of innovations. The Free Press, New York) or the Barriers Scale (Funk et al. 1991a Applied Nursing Research 4(1):39-45), many authors (Dunn et al. 1997 Emergency Nurse 5(2):24-27; Walsh 1997a 1997b Nursing Standard 11(19):34- 37; 1997c Nursing Standard 11(29):34-39; Kajermo et al. 1998 Journal of Advanced Nursing 27(4):798-807; 2000 Journal of Advanced Nursing 31(1):99-109; Parahoo 2000 Journal of Advanced Nursing 31(1):89-98) have structured the barriers into sub-groups: the characteristics of the organisation, of the adopter, of the communication and of the research. Several studies reveal that the actual 'setting' poses the greatest barrier to the utilisation of research. Walsh (1997b) describes this as a paradox, in othe r words: practice is perceived as the biggest obstacle to change in practice. A systematic approach to research utilisation is outlined aimed at targeting these specific identified barriers, and third level institutes and practice settings are urged to c onsider strategic and focused approaches to the development of research plans.

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