Gerrish, Kate, Guillaume, Louise, Kirshbaum, Marilyn, McDonnell, Ann, Tod, Angela and Nolan, Mike (2011) Factors influencing the contribution of advanced practice nurses to promoting evidence-based practice among front-line nurses: findings from a cross-sectional survey. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67 (5). pp. 1079-1090. ISSN 03092402

Aim: This paper is a report of a study to identify factors influencing advanced practice nurses’ contribution to promoting evidence-based practice among front-line nurses.

Background: Despite widespread recognition that care should be evidence-based, nurses experience considerable challenges implementing evidence-based practice. As opinion leaders, advanced practice nurses can influence the practice of front-line nurses by promoting research use. Little is known about how advanced practice nurses use evidence and their influence on care provided by front-line nurses.

Method: A cross-sectional survey of 855 advanced practice nurses working in 87 hospital/primary care settings in England. The questionnaire examined understandings of evidence-based practice, sources of evidence used, ways of working with front-line nurses, perceived impact on front-line nurses, skills in evidence-based practice and barriers to promoting evidence-based practice. Data were collected in 2005 and analysed using descriptive statistics. Comparisons were made between advanced practice nurses with master’s qualifications and those with lower qualifications.

Findings: Advanced practice nurses used different sources evidence. They engaged in various activities to promote evidence-based practice and had a positive influence on front-line nurses’ practice. Advanced practice nurses’ skills in evidence-based practice varied with few considering themselves expert. Advanced practice nurses with master’s qualifications perceived themselves to be more skilled in all aspects of evidence-based practice that those with lower qualifications.

Conclusion: Advanced practice nurses are well-placed as clinical leaders to promote evidence-based practice by front-line nurses but require further development of their skills in evidence-based practice. In order to maximize their potential advanced practice nurses require master’s preparation.