1. Fenwick, Sherri BSN, RN

Article Content

After reading the article, "Overcoming Barriers and Promoting the Use of Research in Practice,"1 I feel compelled to present an additional barrier that nurses face in using and participating in research in their practice. This barrier is the difficulty nurses have in comprehending and understanding the scholarly and often complex language of the research scientist. This may present an under explored area that contributes to the gap between nurse researchers and professional staff nurses who are not exposed to that language in their everyday practice.


I graduated from a BSN program in 1994 having taken only one research course and have been a bedside nurse since that time. It is only now, since entering my master's degree program, that I am hearing and learning more about evidence-based practice and research utilization. Fink et al1 point out several barriers that hinder nurses from basing their practices on scientific evidence and research. I challenge Fink et al, as well as other researchers and service administrators and managers, to consider scientific and scholarly language barriers as very important factors that hamper and even repel some nurses from participating in or using research. I am not suggesting that we compromise professional standards by using slang, but simplifying some terminology and how ideas are expressed to make research findings more understandable.


Just by using language that is confusing or difficult to interpret, researchers make research appear to be a mystery that is beyond the intelligence of regular practicing nurses. Hegyvary2(p112) wrote that "The absence of clarity is the reason for the loud, collective groan at the mention of 'scholarly writing'[horizontal ellipsis]. The successful scholar shows intelligence through intelligible writing" Newhouse et al3(p38) reported that an "obvious knowledge deficit on the part of many staff nurses[horizontal ellipsis][and] feelings of inadequacy when attempting to critique[horizontal ellipsis]various types of research" were important barriers to implementation of evidence-based practices.


I feel that the low response rate from the study of Fink et al among the nurses solicited for this study may illustrate my point. Some nurses just want to flee when approached about research for fear of being tagged as ignorant because they have difficulty with interpreting much of what is written in research articles. Simplicity does not mean ignorance and may, in fact, mean the difference between nurses reading research results and using them in their practice and those nurses who cannot get beyond the first page of a research article.


Fink et al presented major limitations that question the validity of their study; however, the topic of the study is one that researchers need to continue to explore with research rigor. Including the component of scholarly language in future research on the barriers that hinder the participation in and use of research in practice is an idea that bears serious consideration.


Sherri Fenwick, BSN, RN


Nursing Instructor


Cass Career Center


Harrisonville, Missouri




1. Fink R, Thompson C, Bonnes D. Overcoming barriers and promoting the use of research in practice. J Nurs Adm. 2005;35(3):121-129. [Context Link]


2. Hegyvary ST. Standards of scholarly writing [editorial]. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2000;32(2):112. [Context Link]


3. Newhouse R, Dearholt S, Poe S, Pugh L, White KM. Evidence-based practice: a practical approach to implementation. J Nurs Adm. 2005;35(1):35-40. [Context Link]