Assistant Professor Quinnipiac University Hamden , Connecticut
Background: Undergraduate nursing curricular requirements include the ability to retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize evidence and apply it to practice. At this institution, the research course was a didactic lecture focused on research methodologies. This quality improvement project paired a librarian and a nursing faculty member to shift the focus of the senior research course from a traditional theory and research methodology approach to an increased focus on the practical application of evidence-based practice.
Description: The primary burden of the course redesign lay on the nursing faculty member. Class activities and associated literature searching became a shared project between the librarian and the faculty member. Prior to the class, a literature search was conducted to determine how to engage students in research courses. The faculty member mapped out the course topical outline. Focus shifted from traditional research methods and theory to a practical approach on the evaluation, application, and dissemination of evidence aligned to baccalaureate essentials. Librarian and faculty created class activities to further engage the students with the new content. These included guest lectures from nursing researchers and practitioners, an in-class interactive evidence retrieval contest, critical appraisal worksheets, and two group projects: critical appraisal presentation of filtered evidence sites, e.g. ECRI Guidelines Trust, and poster presentations exploring a student-generated PICO question.
Conclusion: The QI project was evaluated through an anonymous pre/post questionnaire that included a Likert scale on attitudes towards evidence-based practice. The post questionnaire included a free-text area asking, “In what ways do you anticipate incorporating EBP principles into your future studies or career?” The questions showed universally improved scores, and the free-text field revealed an understanding of the integral connection of EBP to the delivery of safe clinical care and professional responsibility. Given that this course is offered multiple times throughout the year, the insights gained from this group will be applied and evaluated once again with the next cohort.