Using action research to construct national evidence-based nursing care guidance for gerontological nursing

Jo Booth, Debbie Tolson, Rhona Hotchkiss, Irene Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: This paper explores the development of a low-cost, involving methodology for constructing nursing-focused evidence-based national care guidance, known as Best Practice Statements, the intended users of which are gerontological nurses practising throughout Scotland.

DESIGN: The Best Practice Statement construction methodology forms one cycle in a five-year longitudinal action research study that aims to achieve evidence-based nursing, facilitate professional networking to support practice development and promote the principles and practice of gerontological nursing. Achieving these aims involved designing a virtual Practice Development College.

METHODS: A Community of Practice comprising practising gerontological nurses, expert advisors, academic teaching and research nurses collaborated in face-to-face meetings and in the virtual Practice Development College to delineate and refine the procedural model for Best Practice Statement construction. Focus groups, telephone interviews, analysis of on-line archives and documentary outputs formed the analytic dataset.

RESULTS: Qualitative analysis indicated that, from the perspective of the community of practice, the emerging methodology facilitated the melding of knowledge sources reflecting the dominant evidence hierarchy with other forms of evidence valued by gerontological nurses, in the Best Practice Statement.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Current methods of care guidance construction rarely address the concerns of nurses and the evidence from which guidelines are developed is narrowly defined with regard to inclusion and acceptability. In contrast this model focuses on nursing issues, embraces a wider definition of evidence and ensures that the published Best Practice Statements are credible and achievable in gerontological practice, where they are tested and refined as an inherent aspect of the development process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-53
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Benchmarking
  • Data Collection
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Scotland


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