Patients who receive care based on scientific evidence have better outcomes, but research continues to report numerous barriers to implementing evidence-based nursing practice in the clinical arena. In some cases, research findings have taken as long as 17 years to be implemented in clinical practice.

The most frequent barriers I encounter as a nurse educator include time constraints and lack of knowledge of how to perform a literature search, appraise the scientific literature, or implement evidence-based changes. To some degree, bedside clinicians are of the opinion that translating research into practice should be done by others (e.g., clinical nurse specialists) rather than serving as a pivotal part of their patient care practice (Pravikoff, Pierce, & Tanner, 2005). 

Although I encounter a number of barriers in the academic and clinical settings, I feel fortunate that negative attitudes about the value of evidence-based care is not among them, as that might be the most difficult barrier to overcome.

Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, AOCNS®, CCNS, CCRN, is a clinical nurse specialist for Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA.