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Int J Nurs Stud. 2012 Sep;49(9):1155-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 May 6.

Nursing students' intentions to use research as a predictor of use one year post graduation: a prospective study.

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Dalarna University, School of Health and Social Studies, Falun, Sweden.



Graduating nursing students are expected to have acquired the necessary skills to provide research-based care to patients. However, recent studies have shown that new graduate nurses report their extent of research use as relatively low. Because behavior intention is a well-known predictor of subsequent behavior, this gives reasons to further investigate graduating nursing students' intentions to use research in clinical practice after undergraduate study.


To investigate graduating nursing students' intentions to use research in clinical practice and, furthermore, to investigate whether intention in itself and as a mediating variable can predict subsequent research use behavior in clinical practice one year post graduation.


A follow-up study was performed of graduating nursing students in their final semester of undergraduate study (2006) and at one year post graduation (2008). Data were collected within the larger national survey LANE (Longitudinal Analysis of Nursing Education).


A sample of 1319 respondents was prospectively followed.


Graduating nursing students' intentions to use research instrumentally were studied as a predictor of their subsequent instrumental research use one year post graduation. A statistical full mediation model was tested to evaluate the effects of intention and factors from undergraduate study on subsequent research use in daily care.


Thirty-four percent of the nursing students intended to use research on more than half or almost every working shift in their future clinical practice. Intention showed a direct effect on research use behavior. In addition, significant indirect effects on research use were shown for capability beliefs (regarding practicing the principles of evidence-based practice) and perceived support for research use (from campus and clinical education), where intention acted as a mediating factor for those effects.


Students rated a modest level of intention to use research evidence. Intentions close to graduation acted as an essential predictor of subsequent research use behavior, both through a direct effect and as a mediating variable. These findings give support for designing future interventions aiming at influencing students' intention to use research to improve subsequent behavior. Focusing on strengthening students' capability beliefs and providing support for research use appear as promising target activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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