Authors: Gulzar Malik, Professor Lisa McKenna and Associate Professor Debra Griffiths
Evidence-based practice (EBP) remains a relatively new concept to nursing, creating many challenges in relation to curriculum evaluation. Most of the available literature on EBP focuses to a great extent on clinical practice. There is limited literature available addressing the incorporation of EBP into nursing curricula, particularly at the undergraduate level. Existing literature highlights discrepancies in how EBP is implemented into nursing curricula, and reveals ambiguity in defining the concepts of EBP, appropriate place in the course in which to initiate EBP skills training, and in merging EBP with the research process. In the Australian context and internationally, EBP is variably addressed within undergraduate nursing education. Aim: This paper reports findings of an analysis of curriculum outlines from tertiary education providers exploring how EBP is incorporated into Bachelor of Nursing (BN) programs in Australia. Method: Curriculum outlines of BN programs were extracted through public websites. Each subject or unit of study was analysed in relation to units offered which addressed research and EBP, either in isolation or combined. Content analysis informed by Chambers and Chiang (2012) was performed to analyse the data. Results: In Australia, 32 universities and three colleges offer BN programs. Results revealed that of these, three did not appear to offer specific units related to research or EBP. Twenty five combined units on research and EBP with major emphasis on research concepts and methodologies. In addition, 30 education providers integrated EBP related objectives throughout their curricula ranging between one to twelve units of study. Variations among institutions were found in terms of years and semesters in which research and EBP units were introduced. Implications: It is paramount that EBP is considered an integral part of curricula and be embedded in all units of study.
Keywords: Evidence-based practice; nursing curricula; undergraduate curricula: research: EBP integration