Facilitators of Research Use in Practice: Narrowing the

This month’s posts have all been about the existence and persistence of the research-practice gap in nursing — that is, the gap between the publication or dissemination of research and the use of those findings in practice. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the ways that the research-practice gap can be narrowed by identifying facilitators of research and evidence use in nursing practice.
The Research-Practice Gap or Evidence-Practice Gap is not new in nursing. This phenomenon was identified over 50 years ago when nurses were on a quest to establish research as the base for professional nursing practice. To figure out why nurses weren’t using research in practice, researchers studied barriers to research use and facilitators of research in practice.
In a previous post, I talked about some of the professional, organizational, and personal barriers to research use. In this post, I’ll look at the ways that some of the barriers have been or could be addressed and transformed into professional, organizational, and personal facilitators of research- and evidence-based practice (EBP).
Professional Facilitators of Research in PracticeGetting nursing students to appreciate and understand research is a major responsibility of nursing faculty. Innovative teaching strategies and passionate educators are key to transforming student mindsets from dreading a course topic to the anticipation of learning!
Changing Research Mindsets to Positive
In the Future of Nursing report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2010) emphasized that research and evidence-based practice knowledge and skills are essential competencies of the 21st-century nurse. Having taught in universities for over 20 years, I know that Nursing Research (as well as Nursing Theory!) courses are the courses that students dread and question their relevance to nursing practice (Gallegos, Tesar, Connor, & Martz, 2017; Spiers, Paul, Jennings, & Weaver, 2012). The course reputation for being dry, and therefore boring, is well earned in many schools.
However, if we want future nurses to embrace EBP, faculty have to show students why this knowledge is so important and give them the tools to independently critique and make decisions about the scientific merit of the studies they are reading. Nursing faculty HAVE to make it their business to make these topics engaging and relevant to practice — and, dare I say, even fun! This transformation from boring to stimulating (interesting, exciting) can take place in face-to-face classes, as well as online.
“Nursing faculty HAVE to make it their business to make nursing research and theory topics engaging and relevant to practice — and, dare I say, even fun!”Powered By the Tweet This PluginTweet ThisFaculty who are passionate and excited about their subjects (yes, even about research and theory!) can transfer those feelings to students through their teaching style and teaching methods. Student attitudes about a topic can change from negative to positive with a teacher who is as engaged in the class as the students. Students who are involved in applying the content learned (and not just recalling facts for a test) has been shown to improve learning and promote positive attitudes toward the subject area (Thompson, 1997; Wells, Free, & Adams, 2007). Research also shows that nurses with positive research mindsets are more likely to use research and evidence in practice (Thompson, 1997; Wells et al., 2007).