Facilitation as a role and process in achieving evidence-based practice in nursing: a focused review of concept and meaning

Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2010 Jun 1;7(2):76-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6787.2010.00186.x. Epub 2010 Feb 19.


Background: Facilitation is proposed as an important strategy to assist practitioners to implement evidence into practice. However, from a front-line nursing perspective, what is actually involved in facilitation, particularly in regards to research utilization, is poorly understood.

Aim: To examine the current state of knowledge surrounding the concept of facilitation as a role and process in the implementation of research findings within the nursing context. Building on a previous concept analysis, we examined how facilitation has evolved over the last decade, particularly focusing on the practical elements (e.g., what it entails to operationalize and implement facilitation in nursing).

Methods: A systematic search of electronic databases identified theory and research-based nursing papers explicitly focused on facilitation in research utilization. Through a content analysis, we examined how the concept is being used, described, and applied within nursing.

Results: Facilitation continues to be described as supporting and enabling practitioners to improve practice through evidence implementation. Certain aspects of the role and the strategies being employed to promote change are more evident. It was possible to formulate these into a taxonomy. Key findings include: * facilitation is now being viewed as an individual role as well as a process involving individuals and groups; * project management/leadership are important components; * no matter which approach is selected, tailoring facilitation to the local context is critical; * there is a growing emphasis on evaluation, particularly linking outcomes to nursing actions.

Conclusions: Further understanding of what facilitators are actually doing to enable changes in nursing practice based on research findings will provide the groundwork for the design and evaluation of practical strategies for evidence-based practice in nursing. Research is needed to clarify how facilitation may be used to implement change in nursing practice along with evaluation of the effectiveness of various approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Nursing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Leadership*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Social Facilitation*