Background: Although evidence-based practice (EBP) has been widely investigated, few studies have investigated its correlation with a clinical nursing ladder system. The current national study evaluates whether EBP implementation has been incorporated into the clinical ladder system. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted nationwide of registered nurses among regional hospitals of Taiwan in January to April 2011. Subjects were categorized into beginning nurses (N1 and N2) and advanced nurses (N3 and N4) by the clinical ladder system. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to adjust for possible confounding demographic factors. Results: Valid postal questionnaires were collected from 4,206 nurses, including 2,028 N1, 1,595 N2, 412 N3, and 171 N4 nurses. Advanced nurses were more aware of EBP than beginning nurses (p <0.001; 90.7% vs. 78.0%). In addition, advanced nurses were more likely to hold positive beliefs about and attitudes toward EBP (p <0.001) and possessed more sufficient knowledge of and skills in EBP (p <0.001). Furthermore, they more often implemented EBP principles (p <0.001) and accessed online evidence-based retrieval databases (p <0.001). The most common motivation for using online databases was self-learning for advanced nurses and positional promotion for beginning nurses. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed advanced nurses were more aware of EBP, had higher knowledge and skills of EBP, and more often implemented EBP than beginning nurses. Linking Evidence to Action: The awareness of, beliefs in, attitudes toward, knowledge of, skills in, and behaviors of EBP among advanced nurses were better than those among beginning nurses. The data indicate that a clinical ladder system can serve as a useful means to enhance EBP implementation.
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