Nurses' sources of information to inform clinical practice: An integrative review to guide evidence-based practice

Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2022 Mar 4. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12569. Online ahead of print.


Background: Evidence-based practice in nursing is challenging and relies on the sources of information used by nurses to inform clinical practice. An integrative review from 2008 revealed that nurses more frequently relied on information from colleagues than information from high-level sources such as systematic reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.

Aims: To describe the information sources used by registered nurses to inform their clinical practice.

Methods: An integrative review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines, based on empirical research studies published from January 2007 until June 2021. The included studies were appraised, following which the identified sources of information from quantitative studies were compiled and ranked. Finally, the qualitative text data were summarized into categories.

Results: Fifty-two studies from various countries were included. The majority of studies employed a quantitative design and used original instruments. Peers were ranked as the number one source of information to inform nurses' clinical practice. However, computers and reference materials are now ranked among the top four most used information sources.

Linking evidence to action: Improvement in computer and information searching skills, as well as the availability of computerized decision support tools, may contribute to nurses' frequent use of digital sources and reference material to inform clinical practice. This review shows that nurses' most frequently reported peer nurses as their source of information in clinical practice. Information sources such as computers and reference materials were ranked higher, and information from patients was ranked lower than in the 2008 review. Developing and standardizing instruments and ensuring high-quality study design is critical for further research on nurses' sources of information for clinical practice.

Keywords: evidence-based practice; integrative review; registered nurses; sources of information.