Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Factors influencing the development of evidence-based practice among nurses: a self-report survey

Anne Dalheim12*, Stig Harthug23, Roy M Nilsen24 and Monica W Nortvedt1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Bergen University College, Postbox 7030, Bergen, N-5020, Norway

2 Department of Research and Development, Patient Safety Unit, Haukeland University Hospital, Jonas Liesvei 65, Bergen, N-5021, Norway

3 Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Postbox 7804, Bergen, N-5020, Norway

4 Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Jonas Liesvei 65, Bergen, N-5021, Norway

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:367  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-367

Published: 24 October 2012



Health authorities in several countries have decided that the health care services should be evidence-based. Recent research indicates that evidence-based practice may be more successfully implemented if the interventions overcome identified barriers.


The present study aimed to examine factors influencing the implementation of evidence-based practice among nurses in a large Norwegian university hospital.


Cross-sectional data was collected from 407 nurses during the period November 8 to December 3, 2010, using the Norwegian version of Developing Evidence-based Practice questionnaire (DEBP). The DEBP included data on various sources of information used for support in practice, on potential barriers for evidence-based practice, and on self-reported skills on managing research-based evidence. The DEBP was translated into Norwegian in accordance with standardized guidelines for translation and cultural adaptation.


Nurses largely used experienced-based knowledge collected from their own observations, colleagues and other collaborators for support in practice. Evidence from research was seldom used. The greatest barriers were lack of time and lack of skills to find and manage research evidence. The nurse’s age, the number of years of nursing practice, and the number of years since obtaining the last health professional degree influenced the use of sources of knowledge and self-reported barriers. Self-reported skills in finding, reviewing and using different sources of evidence were positively associated with the use of research evidence and inversely related to barriers in use of research evidence.


Skills in evidence-based practice seem to reduce barriers to using research evidence and to increase use of research evidence in clinical practice.

Evidence-based practice; Nurses; Sources of knowledge; Barriers