Barriers to research utilization for oncology staff nurses and nurse managers/clinical nurse specialists.

D. N. Rutledge, M. Ropka, P. E. Greene, L. Nail, K. H. Mooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe and compare barriers to research utilization faced by oncology staff nurses and nurse managers/clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and to compare these to barriers identified by other nurses. DESIGN: Exploratory descriptive. SETTING: National. SAMPLE: Proportional random sample of 2,000 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) staff nurses (n = 769) from seven practice settings. ONS participants recruited oncology staff nurses (n = 331) and nurse managers/CNSs involved in cancer care (n = 407). METHODS: Mailings, including a demographic questionnaire and Barriers Scale, were sent to ONS nurses, and reminder postcards were sent to increase the return rate. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Barrier categories: characteristics of the adopter (nurse), organization, innovation (research itself), and communication, individual item barriers. Nurse and worksite characteristics. FINDINGS: Differences existed in oncology nurses' perceptions of the extent to which the adopter, organization, and innovation characteristics served as obstacles to research utilization. Nurse managers/CNSs perceived that each of these acted as a greater barrier than did staff nurses. Both groups perceived communication characteristics as a moderate barrier. Oncology nurses, as a group, responded similarly to other nurse samples regarding research and communication characteristics. Perceptions of oncology nurse managers/CNSs were similar to those of administrators in other studies. Oncology staff nurses rated barriers lower than nurses, including clinicians, in other samples. CONCLUSIONS: For oncology nurses, organization, research, and communication barriers persist as impediments to research utilization. Nurse adopter characteristics may be diminishing as obstacles for staff nurses but not for nurse managers/CNSs. The decreased strength that oncology nurses attributed to barriers may reflect a benefit of practicing nursing in a specialty. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Decreasing known barriers would facilitate research-based practice in oncology. Nurse leaders can create environments conducive to research utilization by altering existing mechanisms, facilitating access to nursing research experts, supporting time for research utilization efforts, giving authority for practice changes, and offering continuing education related to research utilization processes. Nurse managers/CNSs need to increase their familiarity with research and research utilization, ensuring their awareness of pertinent clinical findings. Perceptual gaps between staff nurses and nurse managers/CNSs regarding research utilization require discussion and formal investigation. Researchers must communicate in clinician-friendly ways. All nurses need to demand and facilitate access to research findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-506
Number of pages10
JournalOncology nursing forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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