Aims and objectives:

To explore the evidence-based nursing practice (EBNP) competencies of clinical and Academic nurses and their collaboration needs for supporting EBNP.


Academic-practice partnerships have strong potential to overcome the key barriers to EBNP. However, there is little known about the collaboration needs of clinical and Academic nurses for EBNP.


A cross-sectional study.


We recruited clinical and Academic nurses online during November 2021 to January 2022. Using a reliable and validated scale and adapted questionnaires, data were collected relating to demographic information, EBNP-related resources availability, EBNP competencies and EBNP collaboration needs. These data were described using descriptive statistical methods. The t test, χ2 test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to evaluate if the different responses between clinical and Academic nurses were statistically significant. This study was reported following the STROBET checklist.


Two 240 clinical nurses and 232 Academic nurses submitted questionnaires. There was no difference in overall EBNP competence between clinical and Academic nurses. However, clinical nurses reported lower levels of competence and stronger intentions to collaborate with Academic nurses when searching for, appraising, and synthesising evidence. Academic nurses reported lower levels of competence and stronger intentions to collaborate with clinical nurses for disseminating and implementing evidence.


Clinical and Academic nurses both reported high needs for collaborating to overcome their perceived role limitations. Clinical and Academic nurses have different strengths and limitations in EBNP. These role differences and intentions to collaborate for different dimensions of EBNP competence suggest that clinical and Academic nursing roles could be complementary to each other, offering opportunities for synergistic collaborations to better support overall EBNP.

Relevance to clinical practice:

Healthcare and Academic institutions should promote Academic-practice partnerships as opportunities to gain complementary expertise on different dimensions of EBNP, and to improve nurses’ competencies and confidence in EBNP overall.


Academic-practice partnership; evidence-based practice; knowledge transfer; knowledge-practice gap; nursing education; nursing students.

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Differences in evidence-based nursing practice competencies of clinical and academic nurses in China and opportunities for complementary collaborations: A cross-sectional study

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