Evidence-based practice (EBP) plays a vital role in the delivery of healthcare, including nursing care. It is essential to integrate the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values in order to provide optimal care (Finkelman, 2019). Implementing evidence-based interventions and changes in healthcare organizations can lead to improved patient outcomes and quality of care. However, the process of integrating evidence-based practice into nursing care can be met with various barriers.
One common barrier to implementing evidence-based practice is a lack of organizational readiness. Warren et al. (2016) note that some organizations may not have the infrastructure or supportive culture in place to facilitate the adoption of evidence-based practice. This can include the lack of policies and procedures that promote the use of evidence-based practice, as well as a scarcity of resources, such as time, staff, and funding, dedicated to supporting evidence-based practice initiatives. Without organizational readiness, nurses may face difficulties in accessing the necessary tools and resources to implement evidence-based interventions.
Another significant barrier identified by Warren et al. (2016) is the lack of fiscal resources to support evidence-based practice education. Implementing evidence-based practice often requires additional training and education for nurses to develop the knowledge and skills needed to critically appraise and apply research findings to their practice. However, limited financial resources can hinder nurses’ access to educational opportunities, such as attending workshops or conferences, taking courses, or accessing evidence-based practice resources.
Additionally, age and work experience can also influence nurses’ readiness and ability to implement evidence-based practice. Warren et al. (2016) explain that younger, less-experienced nurses may lack the confidence and clinical expertise to effectively integrate evidence-based practice into their nursing care. On the other hand, older, more-experienced nurses may be resistant to change or may have established habits and practices that are not aligned with evidence-based guidelines. Bridging this generation gap and addressing the specific needs and concerns of different age groups and levels of experience is crucial for successful implementation.
In my current organization, I have observed several evidence-based interventions and changes that have been implemented. One such intervention is the adoption of bedside handover, where nurses conduct patient handover at the bedside, involving the patient in their care and promoting better communication and patient engagement. Another change that has been implemented is the use of electronic documentation systems to improve efficiency, accuracy, and accessibility of patient information.
During the implementation of these interventions, barriers were initially encountered. The lack of organizational readiness was evident in the resistance to change from some staff members, who were accustomed to traditional handover methods or paper-based documentation systems. To overcome this barrier, educational sessions were conducted to highlight the benefits of evidence-based practice and the importance of patient-centered care. Additionally, ongoing support and mentoring were provided to nurses to build their confidence and skills in implementing these changes. The organization also allocated resources to ensure that nurses had access to training programs and workshops on evidence-based practice and the use of electronic documentation systems.
In conclusion, evidence-based practice is essential in healthcare, including nursing care, to ensure the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered care. However, implementing evidence-based interventions and changes can be challenging due to various barriers. These barriers include a lack of organizational readiness, limited fiscal resources for education and training, and age and work experience of nurses. Overcoming these barriers requires organizational support, resources, education, and mentoring to empower nurses to integrate evidence-based practice into their care. By addressing these barriers, healthcare organizations can foster a culture of evidence-based practice and improve the overall quality and outcomes of patient care.
Finkelman, A. (2019). Leadership and Management for Nurses (4th ed.). Pearson.
Warren, J. I., Bacon, C. T., Harris, J. L., Sawyer, J. K., Butler, L., & Leamon, M. H. (2016). Evidence-Based Practice: A survey of hospital nurses’ perception, knowledge, and readiness for EBP. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 13(5), 364-373. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12167