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Can J Nurs Res. 2005 Jun;37(2):118-40.

Profiling Canadian nurses' preferred knowledge sources for clinical practice.

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  • 1Faculty of Nursing, Centre for Knowledge Transfer, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. carole.estabrooks@ualberta.ca


Several researchers have examined nurses' knowledge sources within the context of research utilization, but conclusions are equivocal. Common problems include a lack of replication, conflicting results, poor generalizability of results, and unclear implications for practice. The objectives of this study were to: (a) describe sources of knowledge and their frequency of use among staff nurses across 7 surgical units, (b) compare knowledge-source patterns across the units, (c) determine whether knowledge-source preferences correlate to research utilization scores, and (d) profile staff nurses' knowledge-source patterns over time. A total of 230 nurses in 5 adult and 2 pediatric surgical units from 4 hospitals in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario completed a self-administered survey. The results were compared to the findings of previous studies. Nurses' knowledge-source preferences were consistent across the 7 units despite differences in education and in research utilization scores. Across all units, nurses preferred to use knowledge gained through personal experience and interactions with co-workers and with individual patients rather than journal articles or textbooks. These findings are consistent with the longitudinal comparison in the 2 earlier studies. In contrast to the knowledge privileged by nurse clinicians, researchers tend to place greater value on research-based knowledge than on experience-based knowledge. To increase research utilization in the practice setting, researchers and others need first to understand the reasons behind clinicians' valuing of experiential and social knowledge sources and then to consider research dissemination and implementation strategies that are more closely aligned with clinician preferences.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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