Nursing Students' Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Evidence-Based Practice, Research and Graduate Education in Nursing
Ayoola, Adejoke B.
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Session presented on Sunday, July 24, 2016: Purpose: Part of the roles of nurses identified in 'The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health' report released in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is to research and evaluate more effective ways of caring for patients to meet the changing health needs of the U.S. population. Evidence-based practice in nursing has been found to improve health outcomes. To support efforts to improve health care for all Americans by having a well-trained health professional, the IOM and RWJF 'Future of Nursing' report also recommends having at least 10% of baccalaureate program graduates enter master's or doctoral degree programs within five years of graduation. The nursing profession needs doctorally prepared researchers and practitioners to ensure delivery of cost-effective high-quality care to improve health outcomes in United States. This study examined nursing students' plans for graduate education, and their perception of the importance of evidence-based practice, research, and graduate education in nursing to the promotion of the future of nursing profession. Methods: A convenience sample of male and female college-aged undergraduate students participated in the study. These were juniors (third year) and seniors (fourth year) in a four year baccalaureate nursing program in a non-research intensive nursing school. Ninety-four students completed an online survey sent via an e-mail. Data were analyzed using STATA 13 to conduct univariate analyses such as frequencies, means, and percentages. Results: Fifty-two percent were senior nursing students, the mean age was 21 years (range from 20 to 29 years). Five percent were male, 15% in the school honors program and 11% were Sigma Theta Tau members. 88.3% were White, 6.4% Asian, 3% Hispanic, and 2% African American. Most of the students (70.8% and 78.7%) agreed or strongly agreed that to ensure delivery of cost-effective high-quality care to improve health outcomes in United States the nursing profession needs doctorally prepared researchers and doctorally prepared nurse practitioners respectively. Slightly less than a third (29%) were definite that they will pursue graduate study in nursing and 59% were undecided. Among those were undecided and those who indicated that they will definitely pursue graduate study (n=80), 48% are considering doctor of nursing practice (DNP), none wants to pursue PhD in nursing. Only 8% indicated that they will likely pursue a combined degree (PhD/DNP). Over 90% agreed or strongly agreed that nursing profession will have to continue to generate new ideas based on a critical evaluation of existing knowledge. Majority (85.4%) agreed or strongly agreed that conducting original research in nursing is important to promote the future of nursing as a profession, 93.3% also agreed or strongly agreed that professional nursing practice should be grounded in the translation of current evidence into nursing practice. Conclusion: None of the students in this baccalaureate nursing education program considered a research-focused doctoral degree (PhD) as a possible future graduate education. Nurse educators need to introduce ideas about graduate education and the importance of research-focused doctoral degree early in the training of the next generation of nurses.