Through evidence based practice implementation, autonomous practice and innovation strategies can stimulate workplace empowerment, providing a framework for retention and recruitment within rural healthcare organizations. This pilot study determined the relationships that exist between evidence based practice use and workplace empowerment among rural Registered Nurses. Forty-two rural Registered Nurses completed an online survey examining their level of evidence based practice use and workplace empowerment. A Spearman’s rho found a strong, positive correlation between overall evidence based practice use and workplace empowerment (r = 0.648, p< .001). Through regression analysis, educational background was determined to be a confounding variable for overall evidence based practice utilization and perceived level of workplace empowerment. While the resultant small sample size negates generalization of this pilot study to a larger population, the results uphold the premise that organizational support of innovation, as evident within the tenets of evidence based practice, can potentially impact nurses’ sense of empowerment in the workplace. The results are valuable to healthcare administrators, quality and risk professionals, professional development educators, and direct care nurses when determining the needs of RNs for evidence based practice education, mentorship, and advancement of organizational empowerment structures. Future studies should examine rural Registered Nurses’ workplace empowerment levels as a source of innovation, which can be a direct result of evidence based practice utilization. Evidence based practice, in conjunction with similar empowering work structures, can enhance rural nurses’ ability to implement highly reliable, quality healthcare services in an environment conducive to learning, autonomy, productivity, and innovation.
Keywords: Evidence-based practice (EBP), Rural, Healthcare, Empowerment, Nursing, Workplace
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