Primary Health Care Research and Development

Original Article

Practice nurses and the prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke: the extent of evidence-based practice

Ann McDonnell a1, Sue Davies a1c1, Jayne Brown a1 and Jane Shewan a2
a1 Department of Nursing, University of Sheffield School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sheffield, UK
a2 Barnsley District General Hospital, Barnsley, UK

Article author query
mcdonnell a   [Google Scholar] 
davies s   [Google Scholar] 
brown j   [Google Scholar] 
shewan j   [Google Scholar] 


The extent to which practice nurses use the best available evidence to inform their activities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke prevention is not known. This paper reports on a study designed to explore the extent to which practice nurses use the available evidence in the prevention of CVD and stroke, and to explore the associations between research utilization and other individual and organizational factors. A national survey of practice nurses employed in 11 health authorities was conducted. Self-completion questionnaires were returned by 1187 practice nurses (response rate 60.4%). In relation to the risk factors smoking, hypertension, raised plasma cholesterol and lack of exercise, the majority of practice nurses reported interventions which are supported by research evidence. However, only 66% of the respondents recommended nicotine patches for smoking cessation, 42% referred patients for hypertension at levels above those recommended by national guidelines, and only 3.9% followed the latest recommended guidelines for exercise prescription. Statistically significant associations were found between total research utilization scores and a number of individual and organizational characteristics. The study findings are discussed together with their implications for practice and education.

(Published Online October 31 2006)

Key Words: cardiovascular disease; evidence-based practice; practice nurses; research utilization.

c1 Address for correspondence: Sue Davies, University of Sheffield School of Nursing and Midwifery, 301 Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2HL, UK. Email:

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