Aim: To identify approaches used by advanced practice nurses to promote evidence-based practice among clinical nurses.
Background: Barriers encountered at individual and organizational levels hinder clinical nurses in their ability to deliver evidence-based practice. Advanced practice nurses are well placed to promote evidence-based practice through interactions with clinical nurses. However, little is understood about how advanced practice nurses might realize this potential.
Method: A multiple instrumental case study of 23 advanced practice nurses from hospital and primary care settings across seven Strategic Health Authorities in England was undertaken in 2006. Data collection comprised interviews and observation of advanced practice nurses and interviews with clinical nurses and other healthcare professionals. Data were analysed using the Framework approach.
Findings: Advanced practice nurses acted as knowledge brokers in promoting evidence-based practice among clinical nurses. Knowledge management and promoting the uptake of knowledge were key components of knowledge brokering. Knowledge management involved generating different types of evidence, accumulating evidence to act as a repository for clinical nurses, synthesizing different forms of evidence, translating evidence by evaluating, interpreting and distilling it for different audiences and disseminating evidence by formal and informal means. Advanced practice nurses promoted the uptake of evidence by developing the knowledge and skills of clinical nurses through role modelling, teaching, clinical problem-solving and facilitating change.
Conclusion: The role of advanced practice nurses in knowledge brokering is complex and multi-faceted. It extends beyond the knowledge management, linkage and capacity building identified in the literature to include active processes of problem-solving and facilitating change.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.