Undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of integrating evidence into practice in a psychiatric-mental health nursing clinical course

Nadia Ali Muhammad Ali Charania, Paula Lynn Ross-Durow, Barbara-Jean Sullivan, Laura A. Dansel


Faculty in a baccalaureate nursing program recognized the need to make intentional efforts to assist nursing students in integrating evidence-based knowledge in their clinical learning.  This paper aims to describe ways in which evidence-based practice (EBP) was incorporated into Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Course (P-MHCC) assignments, and summarize students’ perceptions about their use of evidence in their clinical practice. Content analysis was performed on 64 student essays. Four themes were identified following analyses of students’ written self-reflections: clinical assignments created opportunities to incorporate EBP, assignments promoted exploration of resources and fostered development of a professional self-concept, use of evidence in mental health nursing, and students’ views on future use of EBP and barriers. Clinical assignments and educational experiences were influential in students’ utilization of EBP. Students agreed on the value of EBP in their development as nurses and as being necessary to provide the best care to patients. Three future recommendations were proposed. First, faculty facilitating clinical courses must integrate EBP as a consistent component across all clinical assignments and employ specific rubrics to help students recognize the importance of evidence in clinical practice. Second, faculty must be proactive to explore and address students’ barriers to integration of EBP in a P-MHCC. Finally, clinical faculty should consider the use of EBP in clinical assignments as one of the strategies to promote students’ professional self-concept. Future research should include systematically exploring and testing the teaching strategies used by nursing faculty at all levels of the baccalaureate program to determine their effectiveness in improving baccalaureate-nursing students’ knowledge and skills.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v9n9p1

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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