Research utilization of registered nurses in United States Army hospitals
The use of research findings in clinical nursing practice has been studied extensively in civilian institutions or with civilian nurses. However, little research utilization study has been done in US military facilities. Everett Rogers' theory on diffusion of innovations posits that a system's social structure and cultural norms affect an innovation's diffusion in several aspects, including innovation decisions, rate of diffusion, and the consequences of innovation (Rogers, 1995). Due to differences in organizational culture between civilian and military facilities, it is difficult to generalize the research done in civilian nursing facilities to the military organization.
All nurses working at three US Army Medical Treatment Facilities were asked to participate in the study, of which 313 returned surveys. Use of research findings in practice was measured using an adapted version of Estabrooks' Research Utilization Survey (Estabrooks, 1997). Perception of organizational climate was measured using Mylle's Organizational Climate Index for Military Units (Mylle, 1998).
Nurses indicated a generally positive attitude toward use of research for practice, stating that they believed it would enhance patient outcomes and they would use it if they could. There were direct relationships between several factors and research utilization, including attitudes toward research, time to read and implement research, access to research findings and support. Nursing support was directly correlated with all aspects of organizational climate indicators. There were inverse relationships between years worked in nursing and research utilization. Sources of research findings were primarily general nursing journals rather than research journals. The internet is an increasing source of information as unit access to the internet becomes more prevalent. Results of this study describe the influencing factors of research utilization by nurses in US Army hospitals, which can provide information for encouraging use of research findings by nurses and for conducting further intervention studies.