Strategies to increase research-based practice: Interplay with unit culture

Carolyn J. Pepler, Linda Edgar, Sara Frisch, Janet Rennick, Marika Swidzinski, Carole White, Thomas Brown, Julie Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: A major focus of clinical nurse specialist nursing practice is the integration of research findings into practice. The purpose of this study was to describe strategies used to facilitate research utilization (RU) by nurses in a practice setting. DESIGN: This multiple-case study identified the strategies that clinical nurse specialists and master's degree-prepared nurse educators, working collaboratively, used to facilitate RU. SETTING/SAMPLE: The setting included 8 units in 4 sites of a university hospital with all willing nurses participating. METHODS: Open-ended focus groups and individual interviews and observational sessions were conducted using investigator-designed interview guides. Comprehensive qualitative analysis led to identification of categories and themes related to RU and the unit culture that supported it. FINDINGS: Findings demonstrated that strategies to facilitate RU by staff at the unit level included conducting original research, supporting nurses participating in research, assessing and meeting staff learning needs, promoting staff attendance at conferences, stimulating goal-setting for presentations and publications, encouraging and responding to new ideas, questioning practice and stimulating inquiry, capitalizing on expertise in research knowledge and skills, and generating information and material resources. Characteristics of unit culture were linked to varying degrees of success with these strategies. The interplay of strategies with unit culture and research-based practice is described. CONCLUSION: A wide repertoire of strategies is needed to facilitate RU, and the outcome of these strategies is influenced by the unit culture. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Consideration of the findings and the scope of the strategies used by nurses in the study can help clinical nurse specialist and other nursing leaders facilitate the building of practice on research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Nurse Specialist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse educators
  • Research utilization
  • Research-based practice
  • Unit culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Leadership and Management
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • LPN and LVN


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