Barriers that may be preventing nursing practice from achieving this goal is education and attitudes regarding evidence-based practice (EBP). A national survey of nurses found that many healthcare organizations reported that EBP was consistently used in their organization, but only about a third said their colleagues consistently used these practices. In addition, nurses with more education tended to have more confidence in implementing evidence-based practice. However, the longer nurses had been working in healthcare, the less interested they were in learning more about evidence-based practice. The average age of nurses is 47, and these nurses were educated at a time when evidence-based practice was not well integrated into educational programs. As a result, many nurses are practicing the way they were taught while new graduates who have learned to take an evidence-based approach to care are meeting these nurses in real-world settings where they encounter this prevalence of a “this is the way we do it here” culture (Biss, 2016).
This survey points to a lack of understanding as the root problem as implementing EBP is the exact process that needs to be integrated in order to achieve and sustain quality and safety in health care. This problem likely exists among other hospital leaders, not just nurses. Without leadership support and engagement, it’s nearly impossible for an organization to sustain a culture of EBP (Biss, 2016). In addition, many nurses surveyed were unsure of how to measure patient outcomes which signifies a real gap in the preparation of nurse leaders. Nurse leaders with graduate and doctoral degrees must master EBP and a part of that is measuring outcomes of evidence-based practice changes. The first step in achieving the 2020 goal remains in nurse leaders possessing these skills. This would lead the way so hospitals and their staff will be capable of practicing evidence-based care in a consistent manner.