Barriers of Research Utilization for Nurses

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C L I N I C A L N U R S I N G IS S U E S

Bridging the divide: a survey of nurses’ opinions regarding barriers to, and facilitators of, research utilization in the practice setting Alison Margaret Hutchinson
BAppSc, MBioeth

PhD Candidate, Victorian Centre for Nursing Practice Research, School of Nursing, University of Melbourne, Australia

Linda Johnston

BSc, PhD, Dip N

Professor in Neonatal Nursing Research, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, and Associate Director, Victorian Centre for Nursing Practice Research, Melbourne, Australia

Submitted for publication: 4 March 2003 Accepted for publication: 29 August 2003

Correspondence: Alison M. Hutchinson School of Nursing University of Melbourne 1/723 Swanston St Carlton, VIC 3053 Australia Telephone: þ61 3 8344 0800 E-mail: alihutchinson@bigpond.com

H U T C H I N S O N A . M . & J O H N S T O N L . ( 2 0 0 4 ) Journal of Clinical Nursing 13, 304–315 Bridging the divide: a survey of nurses’ opinions regarding barriers to, and facilitators of, research utilization in the practice setting Background. Many researchers have explored the barriers to research uptake in order to overcome them and identify strategies to facilitate research utilization. However, the research–practice gap remains a persistent issue for the nursing profession. Aims and objectives. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of perceived influences on nurses’ utilization of research, and explore what differences or commonalities exist between the findings of this research and those of studies that have been conducted in various countries during the past 10 years. Design. Nurses were surveyed to elicit their opinions regarding barriers to, and facilitators of, research utilization. The instrument comprised a 29-item validated questionnaire, titled Barriers to Research Utilisation Scale (BARRIERS Scale), an eight-item scale of facilitators, provision for respondents to record additional barriers and/or facilitators and a series of demographic questions. Method. The questionnaire was administered in 2001 to all nurses (n ¼ 761) working at a major teaching hospital in Melbourne, Australia. A 45% response rate was achieved. Results. Greatest barriers to research utilization reported included time constraints, lack of awareness of available research literature, insufficient authority to change practice, inadequate skills in critical appraisal and lack of support for implementation of research findings. Greatest facilitators to research utilization reported included availability of more time to review and implement research findings, availability of more relevant research and colleague support. Conclusion. One of the most striking features of the findings of the present study is that perceptions of Australian nurses are remarkably consistent with reported perceptions of nurses in the US, UK and Northern Ireland during the past decade. Relevance to clinical practice. If the use of research evidence in practice results in better outcomes for our patients, this behoves us, as a profession, to address issues surrounding support for implementation of research findings, authority to

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Ó 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Clinical nursing issues

Barriers to, and facilitators of, research utilization

change practice, time constraints and ability to critically appraise research with conviction and a sense of urgency. Key words: barriers to research utilization, facilitators of research utilization, research dissemination, research implementation, research utilization

Introduction and background
For over 25 years research utilization has been discussed in the nursing literature with growing enthusiasm and amid increasing calls for the use of research findings in practice. Additionally, the evidence-based practice movement, which emanated in the early 1990s (Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group, 1992) has highlighted the importance of incorporating research findings into practice....
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