Research Utilisation in Health Care Professionals

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In the clinical setting, it is now expected that health care practitioners adopt evidence based practice to ensure high quality care and patient safety is maintained (Tuite & George 2010). Adopting an evidence based approach in healthcare will also help to ensure that, the care provided, is more likely to be cost effective and will result in positive patient outcomes (Jones & Bourgeouis 2007, p. 88; Bevan 2010, p. 142). However the research and evidence provided is always changing therefore it is important for health professionals to continually stay up to date and further develop their knowledge in relation to their field of practice (Timmins & Pallen 2002, p. 100). This can be a difficult task and not all health professionals utilise research in their practice even though they know the benefits of researching (McDonnell 2004, p. 185). This essay will explore the reasons why health care professionals do not utilise research in their practice. It will then help identify the strategies for enhancing research utilisation by health care professionals in the clinical settings. By identifying these strategies, health professionals may be able to adopt their strategies and act as a change agent in their clinical setting. This role of a change agent will then be discussed to help other health professionals implement change within their workplace to ensure evidence based research is adopted and help to increase positive patient outcomes.

The information for this essay was gathered from UOW Library databases such as Proquest, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Collection, Academic Onefile and Informit Health Collection. Keywords such as “research”, “utilisation”, “professional”, “practice”, “barriers”, “recommendations”, “change agents”, “evidence based practice”, “strategies”, “change agents”, “health care” and “implementation” were used in the searches. The articles chosen were limited to research that was conducted within the last 15 years and were used when the abstract showed that they were relevant to this study.

It should first be noted that while evidence based research can help to increase positive health outcomes for the patient, it is not always the best option for the patients as it is based on scientific knowledge and does not consider the patients preferences which can cause harm to the patients spiritual, emotional and mental well being (McDonnell 2004, p. 187). Therefore it should be taken into consideration when implementing certain practices. It is also important to emphasise that not all research is directly usable in practice, meaning that it does not have the proper explanations and predictions available in order to be used in practice. As research can also be indirectly usable, which only provides knowledge and insight in a particular field of research or the research can be of methodological use which involves the use of measurement scales or tools. It may not also be beneficial if the research is used inappropriately (McDonnell 2004, p.187). As stated by McDonnell (2004), the main reasons for why health professionals do not use research, can be put into 3 categories. These are barriers related to, the accessibility of research, to the individual and to the setting

Finding evidence based research can be a difficult and time consuming task when there is limited research on a particular field of study or when the available information is not easily accessible (Wysocki & Bookbinder 2005). Difficulties include, research not being published, information being disseminated where nurses are unable to access or attend such as conferences or workshops which are during their work hours and lack of access to library facilities or electronic information (McDonnell 2004, p. 188). Research is also published in journals which are not read by health care practitioners and when they are able to access the information, the language used is often difficult to understand or there is an overload of information which can de-motivate...
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