Nurse practitioner educators' perceived knowledge, beliefs, and teaching strategies regarding evidence-based practice: implications for accelerating the integration of evidence-based practice into graduate programs

J Prof Nurs. Jan-Feb 2008;24(1):7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2007.06.023.


The paradigm shift to evidence-based practice (EBP) in the United States has been slow. Evidence has supported that one barrier to accelerating this paradigm shift is that many nurses have negative attitudes toward research, in large part due to the manner in which they were taught research in their educational programs. The primary aims of this study were to (a) describe nurse educators' knowledge, beliefs, and teaching practices regarding EBP; (b) determine whether relationships exist among these variables; and (c) describe major barriers and facilitators to the teaching of EBP in nurse practitioner curriculums. A descriptive survey was conducted with a sample of 79 nurse practitioner educators who are members of the Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP) and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). The 25 AFPNP participants completed the survey while attending a national conference in Orlando, FL. The remaining 54 NONPF randomly selected participants responded to an e-mail version of the survey. Participants' self-reported knowledge and beliefs about the benefits of EBP and the need to integrate it into academic curricula were strong, although their responses indicated a knowledge gap in EBP teaching strategies. Few academic programs offered a foundational course in EBP. Significant relationships were found among educators' knowledge of EBP and (a) their beliefs that EBP improves clinical care, (b) beliefs that teaching EBP will advance the profession, (c) how comfortable they feel in teaching EBP, and (d) whether EBP clinical competencies are incorporated into clinical specialty courses.

Conclusion and implications: Graduate programs need to offer a foundational course in EBP and integrate EBP throughout clinical specialty courses in order for advanced practice nurses to implement this type of care upon entry into practice. There is a need to educate faculty to become proficient in EBP as knowledge of EBP is highly related to its teaching and incorporation into graduate education. Further research is needed to describe the knowledge and state of teaching EBP in graduate faculty who are not active in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing, Graduate*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse Practitioners / education*
  • Pediatric Nursing / education
  • Teaching / methods
  • United States