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This is an opinion-based question, based on an article that I found: Promoting Evidence-Based Practice Through a Research Training Program for Point-of-Care Clinicians (2015)Before reading the article: What is your opinion regarding research training programs for point-of-care clinicians? Do you believe that this would promote or enhance EBP in your practice setting, improve patient care, etc…?After reading the article: Has your opinion changed?

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Volume 45, Number 1, pp 14-20
Copyright B 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Promoting Evidence-Based Practice
Through a Research Training Program
for Point-of-Care Clinicians
Agnes T. Black, MPH, RN
Lynda G. Balneaves, PhD, RN
Candy Garossino, MSN, RN
Joseph H. Puyat, MA, MSc
Hong Qian, MSc
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a research training program on clinicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to
research and evidence-based practice (EBP).
BACKGROUND: EBP has been shown to improve
patient care and outcomes. Innovative approaches are
needed to overcome individual and organizational barriers to EBP.
METHODS: Mixed-methods design was used to evaluate a research training intervention with point-of-care
clinicians in a Canadian urban health organization.
Participants completed the Knowledge, Attitudes, and
Practice Survey over 3 timepoints. Focus groups and
interviews were also conducted.
RESULTS: Statistically significant improvement in
research knowledge and ability was demonstrated. Par-
ticipants and administrators identified benefits of the
training program, including the impact on EBP.
CONCLUSIONS: Providing research training opportunities to point-of-care clinicians is a promising strategy for healthcare organizations seeking to promote EBP,
empower clinicians, and showcase excellence in clinical
Author Affiliations: Research Leader (Ms Black) and Director
of Professional Practice (Ms Garossino), Providence Health Care;
Associate Professor (Dr Balneaves), School of Nursing, University
of British Columbia; and Research Methodologist (Mr. Puyat) and
Statistician (Ms Qian), Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome
Sciences, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Funding for this project was received from the Michael Smith
Foundation for Health Research.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Correspondence: Ms Black, Providence Health Care, 1190
Hornby St, Ste 409G, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6Z 2 K5 ([email protected]
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct
URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the
HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0
License, where it is permissible to download and share the work
provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way
or used commercially.
DOI: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000151
Research confirms that patient outcomes improve when
nurses practice in an evidence-based manner. Described
as ‘‘a problem-solving approach to clinical care that
incorporates the conscientious use of current best practice from well-designed studies, a clinician’s expertise,
and patient values and preferences,’’1(p335) evidencebased practice (EBP) has been shown to increase patient safety, improve clinical outcomes, reduce healthcare
costs, and decrease variation in patient outcomes.1-4
The importance of EBP is substantiated; however, barriers to widespread use of current research evidence in
nursing remain, including the fluency and knowledge
level of clinical nurses.
Nurses have identified individual and organizational barriers to research utilization. Individual barriers
include lack of knowledge about the research process
and how to critique research studies, lack of awareness
of research, colleagues not supportive of practice change,
and nurses feeling a lack of authority to change practice.5-8 Organizational barriers identified include insufficient time to implement new ideas, lack of access to
research, and lack of awareness of available educational
tools related to research.5-7,9-11
Research demonstrates that the most important
factor related to nurses’ EBP is support from their employing organizations to use and conduct research.7,9
Other facilitators include the presence in the clinical
JONA Vol. 45, No. 1 January 2015
setting of advanced practice nurses, research mentors,
and educators knowledgeable about research12-16; nursing research internships17; and designated nurseresearchers.15 In their BARRIERS scale studies,18,19
Funk and colleagues recommended strategies for reducing barriers to EBP, including employment of research
role models, establishment of collegial relationships with
academics, and participation in research interest groups.
Similar strategies have been more recently highlighted in
the context of the Magnet Recognition Program .15,16
There is, however, a notable lack of rigorous intervention studies focused on identifying organizational
barriers to improve nurses’ engagement in EBP.20 Only
1 study focused on the implementation of Magnet standards in American hospitals that showed promise in
diminishing the barriers to EBP.21 To address this gap,
leaders at a tertiary healthcare organization implemented
a point-of-care research training program, led by the organization’s nursing research facilitator, targeting nurses
and other clinicians to reduce EBP barriers and to promote engagement in research (Job Description for Nursing Research Facilitator, see Document, Supplemental
Digital Content 1,
The program provided mentoring and funding for teams
of novice researchers to conduct small-scale studies in
their practice settings. The purpose of this study was to
evaluate the impact of the training program on clinicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to research and EBP.
A mixed-methods design22,23 was utilized to support
the evaluation of the training program. A before-after
survey design was used to assess the effect of the training program on clinicians, and focus groups and interviews were conducted with clinicians and administrators
to explore their perceptions of the training program.
Ethical approval was obtained from the appropriate
institutional ethics board.
Sample and Sampling
Participants were recruited from organizational employees who had applied, in teams, to be part of the
training program. Each research team was required to
have at least 1 point-of-care clinician whose job was
limited to clinical practice and did not include administrative or research responsibilities. A total of 27 teams
and 153 clinicians (including 78 RNs) were accepted
into the training program in 2 years (2011-2013). Of
the 25 teams funded in the 1st 2 years, 10 teams were
led by RNs, and 30 other nurses were team members
of funded teams. These clinicians were invited to complete a baseline survey and 2 follow-up surveys as well
as participate in focus groups. The administrative leaders
JONA Vol. 45, No. 1 January 2015
of these clinicians were invited to participate in qualitative
Potential research teams submitted letters of intent that
outlined the team membership and the proposed research
problem, which were reviewed for feasibility and clinical
significance by an advisory committee composed of
academic and clinical leaders. Approved teams were
invited to join the training program and assigned a research mentor to assist in the development of the full
research proposal. Research teams attended 3 research
workshops that provided foundational knowledge about
research methods, research ethics, and literature review
techniques (see Document, Supplemental Digital Content 2, which shows a curriculum sample, http://links Following the workshops, research teams had 3 months to develop a brief proposal,
in consultation with their assigned mentor. The proposals
were evaluated for their feasibility, significance, and
soundness of design, and those funded received small
research grants (Can $2,000-$5,000). Over the next year,
funded teams conducted their research studies and engaged in knowledge translation activities.
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice Survey
The Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice (KAP) survey
is an instrument that assesses 33 research activities that
an RN or other health professional might encounter in
clinical practice, including utilization and conduct of
research. The KAP consists of 5 factors: (1) identifying
clinical problems, (2) establishing current best practice,
(3) implementing research into practice, (4) administering
research implementation, and (5) conducting and communicating. For each activity listed on the survey, the
participants indicated their level of knowledge, willingness to engage (attitudes), and ability to perform
(practices) specific research and knowledge translation
activity on a 3-point scale. The KAP has strong content
and construct validity and is a reliable measure (ie, internal consistency = .93 to .97)24 that has been used
extensively in studies exploring EBP in nursing and other
health professions.
A brief demographic form (see Table, Supplemental
Digital Content 3,,
including age, gender, profession, position, level of education, years in practice, and practice area, was completed by participants at the time of enrollment.
Data Collection
The instruments were administered through an online
survey program (FluidSurveys; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
and were administered in 3 waves at various stages
of the training program (Figure 1). The baseline survey
(survey 1) was conducted at the time of program enrollment. Survey 2 was conducted 3 months later, after
participants completed the research workshops and
submitted their proposals. The final survey (survey 3)
was done at the end of the program after participants
completed their projects, which ranged from 18 to
24 months from baseline. The final data collection
timepoint varied because of extraneous circumstances
(eg, slow accrual, loss of team members) that resulted
in some teams requiring additional time to complete
their research.
Focus Groups and Qualitative Interviews
All participants of the funded research teams were invited to participate in focus groups scheduled within
6 months of the completion of their projects. Openended questions were used to explore participants’ experiences in the training program and the impact on
their ability to engage in EBP. Several participants who
were unable to take part in the focus groups completed
individual interviews. A $20 gift card was provided to
compensate focus group and interview participants. Key
informant interviews were conducted with administrators
whose staff participated in the program and gathered
their perceptions regarding the impact of the program
on clinicians’ ability to engage in research and EBP.
Data Analysis
Demographic characteristics were summarized using
descriptive statistics. Knowledge, willingness, and ability
levels across survey waves were summarized using means
and SDs. Linear mixed regression analyses comparing
outcome measures between survey timepoints were performed to evaluate the impact of training at various
stages of the program. This analytic approach was
chosen to account for the correlation among measures
from the same subject and to include participants with
missing data, which were mostly caused by participants
not completing all 3 surveys. To facilitate interpretation
and where appropriate, average differences in the mean
Figure 1. Mean scores on research knowledge, willingness,
and ability to conduct research.
scores of the outcomes between survey waves were
expressed as standardized effect sizes (Cohen d). Statistical data analyses were performed using version
9.2 of the SAS system (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, North
Carolina; 2008) for Windows.
The focus groups and interviews were recorded
and transcribed verbatim. Transcriptions were analyzed
line-by-line for emerging concepts, which were developed into a coding scheme. Transcripts were coded and
validated by at least 2 investigators, and disagreements
were discussed until consensus. Coded data were entered
into a qualitative management software program
(NVivo; QSR International (Americas) Inc, Burlington,
Massachusetts). Key themes and relationships were
identified using a thematic analytical approach and
confirmed by multiple research team members.
Quantitative Findings
There were 136 participants in the study (response rate
of 88.9%) (see Table, Supplemental Digital Content 3,, mostly women (87%),
between 25 and 44 years of age (80%), and working
in acute care (85%). Approximately half of the participants were nurses (52%), had a baccalaureate degree
(55%), and had been in practice for more than 10 years
(58%). Except for education, no statistically significant
differences in outcome measures by demographic characteristics were observed at baseline.
Research Knowledge
A significant improvement in research knowledge was
found following participation in the research workshops
and submission of the proposals (Table 1), with the observed mean knowledge score increasing from 1.67
(on a scale of 1 to 3) at baseline to 1.93 at survey 2.
The change in mean scores between the 2 surveys, estimated using linear mixed models, was 0.23 (95%
confidence interval [CI], 0.14-0.33) and was statistically significant (P G .0001). This estimated difference
in mean scores represents a change that was moderate
in magnitude (d = 0.50). Further significant improvement in research knowledge was achieved following
the completion of funded research projects, with an estimated increase in mean scores from survey 2 to survey
3 of 0.34 (95% CI, 0.17-0.52), indicating a large effect
size (d = 0.77).
Research Ability
Participants’ perceived ability to conduct research did
not significantly increase from survey 1 to survey 2 but
improved considerably after completion of the research
project (Table). The observed mean score on survey 2
was 1.99 (on a scale of 1 to 3) and increased to 2.30
in survey 3. The estimated change in mean scores based
JONA Vol. 45, No. 1 January 2015
Table 1. Means and Estimated Changes in Mean Scores on Research Knowledge, Willingness, and
Ability Across Survey Timepoints
Mean Scores,a Mean (SD)
Estimated Mean Change,b (95% CI), P
Survey 1
(n = 101)
Survey 2
(n = 68)
Survey 3
(n = 34)
Survey 1 to Survey 2
Survey 2 to Survey 3
1.67 (0.46)
1.91 (0.52)
2.34 (0.50)
1.93 (0.45)
1.99 (0.42)
2.31 (0.49)
2.26 (0.42)
2.30 (0.44)
2.45 (0.48)
0.23 (0.14 to 0.33), G0.0001
0.07 (j0.06 to 0.20), 0.27
0.04 (j0.07 to 0.16), 0.48
0.34 (0.17 to 0.52), 0.0002
0.32 (0.14 to 0.49), 0.001
0.15 (j0.04 to 0.35), 0.12
Observed mean scores at different timepoints.
Changes in means between timepoints were estimated using linear mixed models that account for clustering and unbalanced data due to
repeated measurements and missing data, respectively. The estimated changes may differ from changes calculated using the actual or observed
mean scores.
on the linear mixed models was 0.32 and was statistically
significant (P = .001). This estimated change represents
a large effect size (d = 0.74).
Research Willingness
No significant improvement in willingness to conduct
research was noted across the study (Table 1). Mean scores
remained at the upper end of the rating scale (on a scale
of 1 to 3) throughout the study period, starting from
the observed mean score of 2.34 at baseline, decreasing
slightly to 2.31 at survey 2 and increasing to 2.45 in
the final survey (Figure 1). The estimated change in
mean scores was small (survey 1 to 2 = 0.04, survey 2
to 3 = 0.15).
Qualitative Findings
Three key themes emerged from the qualitative data:
benefits from participating in the training program,
impact of the training program on EBP, and challenges
faced by beginning researchers.
Benefits of Training Program Participation
Administrators were overwhelmingly positive about
the benefits of the training program for both clinicians
and their organization. They perceived the program as
filling a gap by offering education, mentorship, and
funding to support clinicians’ engagement in the generation of evidence. Participants described the program
as providing an important opportunity to learn and engage in research and knowledge translation activities
that are rarely available to those without advanced education. Participants reported being less intimidated by
research, having a greater appreciation for the complexities and limitations of research, and being better prepared to understand and apply evidence appropriately
within clinical settings. As 1 administrator noted,
‘‘They’re not afraid of research anymoreI.’’
Both administrators and participants described
the program as creating a sense of excitement and enthusiasm among the healthcare team about research.
One administrator described, ‘‘It was fun to see them
evolve and develop in their journey as they took on this
JONA Vol. 45, No. 1 January 2015
project. I saw a sense of confidence, a sense of ownership and pride.’’ For some participants, the program
broadened their perceived scope of practice and made
their job more enjoyable. As shared by 1 participant,
‘‘You feel you are learning in your job. You want to
feel you’re moving somewhere and not standing in
the same spot. It’s great at making a job that you’re
stable in exciting and progressive.’’
The training program was further perceived to
benefit the organization by showcasing excellence in
nursing and other professions among the larger healthcare
community: ‘‘Because of the program, we were able to
present papers at our national conference, which is an
advantage for our [organization]I.’’ Interprofessional
collaboration within the organization, as well as partnerships between clinicians, administrators, and academics,
was seen to be strengthened as a result of the program.
Increase in Evidence-Based Practice
The link between participation in the training program
and promotion of EBP was clearly articulated by both
administrators and participants. In particular, participants
saw the training program as cultivating critical thinking:
It encourages you to seek answers regarding how things
can improve or the effectiveness of certain methods
and to search out and emphasize an evidence-based
practice. This has been wonderful to open your eyes
to all the different things you can do for your patients.
Administrators perceived the training program
to raise awareness of the links between good clinical
practice and research evidence:
There is more of an understanding or realization that
whatever we implement or whatever practice we are
carrying out, we do need to be more conscious of
whether there is any evidence for it. There is more
intentional scrutiny of what we are doing now, and
the training program certainly reinforced that.
The training program also enhanced participants’
ability to advocate for change in the larger healthcare
organization. Not only did they gain the language, resources, and evidence needed to be taken seriously by
other members of the healthcare team, but also their
motivation and commitment to promote practice
change were enhanced by their engagement in the research process:
It makes the frontline workers really push to get the
best possible evidence-based guidelines and practice
because they want it. They know it’s better based on
their really hard data collection and analyzing of the
results. [It ] gives you buy-inI through blood, sweat,
and tears.
Some participants and their teams did report practice change to result from their research, including shifts
in practice guidelines and care standards. Three examples of practice and policy changes as a result of the
training program and subsequent research included (1)
a qualitative project that examined the experience of
newly admitted residents to a …
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