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Research Papers Advancing Evidence-Based Practice through Nurse Education

The concept of evidence-based practice is very relevant in the current societal and healthcare climate. Great 'lip-service’ is continually paid to the notion of evidencebased practice and many would claim that it is already the reality (McKenna, Ashton and Keeney, 2004). However, this claim does not stand up to scrutiny when examined in the philosophy and context of what evidence-based practice is. Such an anomaly clearly has implications for nurse education and in particular the way in which research is presented and delivered to students. With this in mind, two undergraduate nursing research modules were modified to embed a culture of evidence-based practice through the teaching and delivery of module content. Teaching and assessment were structured to make the principles and process of evidence-based practice meaningful for students. The impact of this initiative was formally evaluated using a quantitative post-test only design. The aim of this initiative was to engender a culture of evidence-based practice at undergraduate level and beyond through specifically tailored teaching and assessment methods implemented within the academy. It also set out to elicit the attitudes and beliefs, knowledge level and utilization of evidence-based practice of undergraduate student nurses following their undertaking of a research module embedded in evidence-based practice. Data were collected using the Evidence Based Practice Beliefs Scale© and Evidence Based Practice Implementation Scale©. A sample comprising 217 undergraduate nursing students was utilised, giving a response rate of 66%. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to analyse the data. Key findings demonstrate a positive predisposition among students towards evidence-based practice. Implementation of evidence-based practice scored less favourably, however, and possible explanations will be proffered for this. The importance of embedding evidence-based practice in nurse education programmes cannot be underestimated if evidence based practice and its positive patient outcomes are to be realised in healthcare settings.

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