Background: Newly graduated nurses are faced with a challenging work environment that may impede theirability to provide evidence-based practice. However, little is known about the trajectory of registered nurses’ use ofresearch during the first years of professional life. Thus, the aim of the current study was to prospectively examinethe extent of nurses’ use of research during the first five years after undergraduate education and specifically assesschanges over time.Method: Survey data from a prospective cohort of 1,501 Swedish newly graduated nurses within the nationalLANE study (Longitudinal Analyses of Nursing Education and Entry in Worklife) were used to investigate perceiveduse of research over the first five years as a nurse. The dependent variables consisted of three single itemsassessing instrumental, conceptual, and persuasive research use, where the nurses rated their use on a five-pointscale, from ‘never’ (1) to ‘on almost every shift’ (5). These data were collected annually and analyzed bothdescriptively and by longitudinal growth curve analysis.Results: Instrumental use of research was most frequently reported, closely followed by conceptual use, withpersuasive use occurring to a considerably lower extent. The development over time showed a substantial generalupward trend, which was most apparent for conceptual use, increasing from a mean of 2.6 at year one to 3.6 atyear five (unstandardized slope +0.25). However, the descriptive findings indicated that the increase started onlyafter the second year. Instrumental use had a year one mean of 2.8 and a year five mean of 3.5 (unstandardizedslope +0.19), and persuasive use showed a year one mean of 1.7 and a year five mean of 2.0 (unstandardized slope+0.09).Conclusion: There was a clear trend of increasing research use by nurses during their first five years of practice.The level of the initial ratings also indicated the level of research use in subsequent years. However, it took morethan two years of professional development before this increase ‘kicked in.’ These findings support previousresearch claiming that newly graduated nurses go through a ‘transition shock,’ reducing their ability to useresearch findings in clinical work.
London: BioMed Central, 2012. Vol. 7, no 19