Implementation and Refinement of a Research Utilization Course for Oncology Nurses

Dana N. Rutledge

Kathi Mooney

Marcia Grant

Linda Eaton

ONF 2004, 31(1), 121-126. DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.121-126

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the implementation and refinement of a yearly research utilization (RU) course for oncology nurses.

Design: Formative program evaluation.

Sample: 22 oncology nurses selected based on competitively reviewed project proposals.

Methods: The one-day RU course was held five times prior to the annual fall Oncology Nursing Society conference. The course consisted of brief didactic sessions on RU, project presentations by participants, faculty reviews, and discussions of practical issues related to project implementation.

Main Research Variables: Course content, usefulness of course components.

Findings: Based on immediate postcourse, 6-month, and 12-month feedback, refinements were made to the course. A major change (in year three) was the addition of a "preparation packet," which contained resources about RU and directed students to accomplish specific precourse goals, and access to a faculty mentor. Evaluation scores were good to outstanding for the content and usefulness of the course presentations, critiques by faculty, and discussion sessions. Interviews with participants indicated that a majority completed or were working on their projects within four years of completing the course.

Conclusions: RU and some of its components (pursuing a literature search, making a practice change) are not processes that most nurses are familiar with, but these processes can be taught to nurses with focused clinical concerns.

Implications for Nursing: An RU course with a low faculty-to-student ratio, adequate course materials, and systematic instruction can lead to research-based changes in practice.

Jump to a section


    Barnard, K.E. (1986). Research utilization: The clinician's role. MCN: American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 11, 224.

    Brown, C.G. (2002). An oral mucositis prevention/treatment protocol for blood and marrow stem cell transplantation: A research utilization project [Abstract]. Oncology Nursing Forum, 29, 345.

    Brown, C.G., & Yoder, L. (2002). Protecting the oral cavity during treatment. American Journal of Nursing, 102(Suppl. 4), 20-23.

    Cronenwett, L.R. (1995). Effective methods for disseminating research findings to nurses in practice. Nursing Clinics of North America, 30, 429-438.

    Donaldson, N.E. (1992). If not now, then when? Nursing's research utilization imperative. Communicating Nursing Research, 25, 29-44.

    Dooks, P. (2001). Diffusion of pain management research into nursing practice. Cancer Nursing, 24, 99-103.

    DuPen, A.R., DuPen, S., Hansberry, J., Miller-Kraybill, B., Millen, J., Everly, R., et al. (2000). An educational intervention of a cancer pain algorithm for ambulatory care. Pain Management Nursing, 1, 116-128.

    Funk, S.G., Tornquist, E.M., & Champagne, M.T. (1989). A model for improving the dissemination of nursing research. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 11, 361-367.

    Hollen, C.J., Hollen, C.W., & Stolte, K. (2000). Hospice and hospital oncology unit nurses: A comparative survey of knowledge and attitudes about cancer pain. Oncology Nursing Forum, 27, 1593-1599.

    Horsley, J., Crane, J., Crabtree, M., & Wood, D. (1983). Using research to improve nursing practice: A guide. New York: Grune and Stratton.

    Howell, D., Butler, L., Vincent, L., Watt-Watson, J., & Stearns, N. (2000). Influencing nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and practice in cancer pain management. Cancer Nursing, 23, 55-63.

    Jennings, B.M., & Loan, L.A. (2001). Misconceptions among nurses about evidence-based practice. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 33, 121-127.

    Krumholz, H.M., & Herrin, J. (2000). Quality improvement studies: The need is there but so are the challenges. American Journal of Medicine, 109, 501-503.

    Long, A., & Harrison, S. (1996). Evidence-based decision making. Health Service Journal, 106, 1-12.

    Madigan, E.A. (1998). Evidence-based practice in home healthcare: A springboard for discussion. Home Healthcare Nurse, 16, 411-415.

    McCormack, B., Kitson, A., Harvey, G., Rycroft-Malone, J., Titchen, A., & Seers, K. (2002). Getting evidence into practice: The meaning of "context." Journal of Advanced Nursing, 38, 94-104.

    McMillan, S.C., Tittle, M., Hagan, S., & Laughlin, J. (2000). Management of pain and pain-related symptoms in hospitalized veterans with cancer. Cancer Nursing, 23, 327-336.

    Payne, J.K. (2001). An integrated oncology nursing model based on evidencebased nursing practice [Abstract]. Oncology Nursing Forum, 28, 205.

    Payne, J.K. (2002). An integrative oncology nursing model based on evidence-based nursing practice. Oncology Nursing Forum, 29, 463-465.

    Robinson, A. (1995). Research, practice and the Cochrane Collaboration. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 152, 883-889.

    Robinson, C.B., Fritch, M., Hullett, L., Petersen, M.A., Sikkema, S., Theuninck, L., et al. (2000). Development of a protocol to prevent opioid-induced constipation in patients with cancer: A research utilization project. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 4, 79-84.

    Rosswurm, M.A., & Larrabee, J.H. (1999). A model for change to evidencebased practice. Image, 31, 317-322.

    Rummel, M.A., Donnelly, P.J., & Fortenbaugh, C.C. (2001). Clinical evaluation of a positive pressure device to prevent central venous catheter occlusion: Results of a pilot study. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 5, 261-265.

    Rutledge, D.N. (1995). Research utilization in oncology nursing. Oncology Nursing: Patient Treatment and Support, 4(2), 1-14.

    Rutledge, D.N. (2002). Introduction to evidence-based practice. Seminars in Oncology Nursing, 18, 1-2.

    Rutledge, D.N., & Donaldson, N.E. (1995). Building organizational mechanisms for research utilization. Journal of Nursing Administration, 25(10), 12-16.

    Rutledge, D.N., Greene, P., Mooney, K.H., Nail, L.M., & Ropka, M.E. (1996). Use of research-based practices by oncology staff nurses. Oncology Nursing Forum, 23, 1235-1244.

    Rutledge, D.N., Ropka, M., Greene, P.E., Nail, L., & Mooney, K.H. (1998). Barriers to research utilization for oncology staff nurses and nurse managers/clinical nurse specialists. Oncology Nursing Forum, 25, 497-506.

    Sackett, D.L., Rosenberg, W.M., Gray, J.A., Haynes, R.B., & Richardson, W.D. (1996). Evidence based medicine: What it is and what it isn't. British Medical Journal, 312, 71-72.

    Sandelowski, M. (1997). "To be of use": Enhancing the utility of qualitative research. Nursing Outlook, 45, 125-132.

    Stetler, C.B. (1994). Refinement of the Stetler/Marram model for application of research findings to practice. Nursing Outlook, 42, 15-25.

    Tiller, M.G., Kleiber, C., Steelman, V., Goode, C., Rakel, B., Barry-Walker, J., et al. (1994). Infusing research into practice to promote quality care. Nursing Research, 43, 307-313.

    Tiller, M.G., Mentes, J.C., Rakel, B.A., Abbott, L., & Baumler, S. (1999). From book to bedside: Putting evidence to use in the care of the elderly. Journal on Quality Improvement, 25, 545-556.

    Walczak, J.R., McGuire, D., Haisfield, M.E., & Beezley, A. (1994). A survey of research-related activities and perceived barriers to research utilization among professional oncology nurses. Oncology Nursing Forum, 21, 710-715.

    Weissman, D.E., Griffie, J., Gordon, D.B., & Dahl, J.B. (1997). A role model program to promote institutional changes for management of acute and cancer pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 14, 274-279.

    Wilson, B.J. (2002). Dietary recommendations for neutropenic patients. Seminars in Oncology Nursing, 18, 44-49.