Taking Root: a grounded theory on evidence-based nursing implementation in China.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Evidence-based nursing is widely recognized as the critical foundation for quality care.


To develop a middle-range theory on the process of evidence-based nursing implementation in Chinese context.


A grounded theory study using unstructured in-depth individual interviews was conducted with 56 participants who were involved in 24 evidence-based nursing implementation projects in Mainland China from September 2015 to September 2016.


A middle-range grounded theory of 'Taking Root' was developed. The theory describes the evidence implementation process consisting of four components (driving forces, process, outcome, sustainment/regression), three approaches (top-down, bottom-up and outside-in), four implementation strategies (patient-centred, nurses at the heart of change, reaching agreement, collaboration) and two patterns (transformational and adaptive implementation).


Certain perspectives may have not been captured, as the retrospective nature of the interviewing technique did not allow for 'real-time' assessment of the actual implementation process. The transferability of the findings requires further exploration as few participants with negative experiences were recruited.


This is the first study that explored evidence-based implementation process, strategies, approaches and patterns in the Chinese nursing practice context to inform international nursing and health policymaking. The theory of Taking Root described various approaches to evidence implementation and how the implementation can be transformational for the nurses and the setting in which they work.

Implications for nursing and health policy

Nursing educators, managers and researchers should work together to improve nurses' readiness for evidence implementation. Healthcare systems need to optimize internal mechanisms and external collaborations to promote nursing practice in line with evidence and achieve clinical outcomes and sustainability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cheng, L; Broome, ME; Feng, S; Hu, Y

Published Date

  • June 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 270 - 278

PubMed ID

  • 28766707

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1466-7657

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0020-8132

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/inr.12396


  • eng