Newly graduated nurses' use of knowledge sources in clinical decision-making: An Ethnographic Study

Siri Lygum Voldbjerg, Mette Grønkjaer, Rick Wiechula, Erik Elgaard Sørensen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore which knowledge sources newly graduated nurses' use in clinical decision-making and why and how they are used.

BACKGROUND: In spite of an increased educational focus on skills and competencies within evidence based practice newly graduated nurses' ability to use components within evidence-based practice with a conscious and reflective use of research evidence has been described as being poor. To understand why, it is relevant to explore which other knowledge sources are used. This may shed light on why research evidence is sparsely used and ultimately inform approaches to strengthen the knowledgebase used in clinical decision-making.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Ethnographic study using participant-observation and individual semi-structured interviews of nine Danish newly graduated nurses in medical and surgical hospital settings.

RESULTS: Newly graduates use of knowledge sources was described within three main structures: 'Other', 'One-self' and 'Gut-Feeling'. Educational preparation, transition into clinical practice and the culture of the setting influenced the knowledge sources used. The sources ranged from overt easily articulated knowledge sources to covert sources that were difficult to articulate. The limited articulation of certain sources inhibited the critical reflection on the reasoning behind decisions. Reflection is a prerequisite for an evidence-based practice where decisions should be transparent in order to consider if other evidentiary sources could be used.

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Although there is a complexity and variety to knowledge sources used there is an imbalance with the experienced nurse playing a key role, functioning both as predominant source and a role-model as to which sources are valued and used in clinical decision-making. If newly graduates are to be supported in an articulate and reflective use of a variety of sources, they have to be allocated to experienced nurses who model a reflective, articulate and balanced use of knowledge sources. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
TidsskriftJournal of Clinical Nursing
Udgave nummer9-10
Sider (fra-til)1313 - 1327
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2017


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