When east meets west: A qualitative study of barriers and facilitators to evidence-based practice in Hunan China

Wendy Gifford, Qing Zhang, Shaolin Chen, Barbara Davies, Rihua Xie, Shi Wu Wen, Gillian Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Research into evidence-based practice has been extensively explored in nursing and there is strong recognition that the organizational context influences implementation. A range of barriers has been identified; however, the research has predominantly taken place in Western cultures, and there is little information about factors that influence evidence-based practice in China. The purpose of this study was to explore barriers and facilitators to evidence-based practice in Hunan province, a less developed region in China. Methods: A descriptive qualitative methodology was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with staff nurses, head nurses and directors (n = 13). Interviews were translated into English and verified for accuracy by two bilingual researchers. Both Chinese and English data were simultaneously analyzed for themes related to factors related to the evidence to be implemented (Innovation), nurses' attitudes and beliefs (Potential Adopters), and the organizational setting (Practice Environment). Results: Barriers included lack of available evidence in Chinese, nurses' lack of understanding of what evidence-based practice means, and fear that patients will be angry about receiving care that is perceived as non-traditional. Nurses believed evidence-based practice was to be used when clinical problems arose, and not as a routine way to practice. Facilitators included leadership support and the pervasiveness of web based social network services such as Baidu for easy access to information. Conclusion: While several parallels to previous research were found, our study adds to the knowledge base about factors related to evidence-based practice in different contextual settings. Findings are important for international comparisons to develop strategies for nurses to provide evidence-based care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers
  • China
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Facilitators
  • Qualitative study


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