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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Stuck in tradition - A qualitative study on barriers for implementation of evidence-based nutritional care perceived by nursing staff

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AIM: To explore the barriers for nutritional care as perceived by nursing staff at an acute orthopedic ward, aiming to implement evidence-based nutritional care.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies indicate that nurses recognize nutritional care as important, but interventions are often lacking. These studies show that a range of barriers influence the attempt to optimize nutritional care. Before the implementation of evidence-based nutritional care, we examined barriers for nutritional care among the nursing staff.

DESIGN: Qualitative study.

METHODS: Four focus groups with thirteen members of the nursing staff were interviewed between October 2013 and June 2014. The interview guide was designed according to the Theoretical Domains Framework. The interviews were analyzed using Qualitative Content Analysis.

RESULTS: Three main categories emerged; Lacking common practice, Failing to initiate treatment and Struggling with existing resources. The nursing staff was lacking both knowledge and common practice regarding nutritional care. They felt they protected patient autonomy by accepting patient's reluctance to eat or getting a feeding tube. The lack of nutritional focus from doctors decreased the nursing staffs focus leading to non-optimal nutritional treatment. Competing priorities, physical setting, and limited nutritional supplements were believed to hinder nutritional care.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that nutritional care is in a transitional state from experience- to evidence-based practice. Barriers for nutritional care are grounded in lack of knowledge among nursing staff and insufficient collaboration between nursing staff and the doctors. There is a need for nutritional education for the nursing staff and better support from the organisation to help nursing staff provide evidence-based nutritional care.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study contributes with valuable knowledge before the implementation of evidence-based nutritional care. The study provides an understanding of barriers for nutritional care and presents explanations to why nutritional care has failed to become an integrated part of the daily treatment and care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume27
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)705-714
ISSN0962-1067
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 51564802