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The Relationship between Knowledge, Research and Practice



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All nurses and midwives, through the knowledge, research and practices they implement, contribute to the health and well-being of people. This first topic will help you to explore how knowledge, research and practice are related to each other and how this translates into evidence based practice.

As a clinician, your decisions will be informed  by your decision-making approach, the research evidence you decide to use (and why), and how you take into account local context, resources, policies, legislation, scope of practice, and individual client needs (and expectations).

This is, in fact, a competency requirement for RNs, as outlined in the Critical Thinking and Analysis domain below:

3 Practises within an evidence-based framework:

3.1 Identifies the relevance of research to improving individual/group health outcomes.

3.2 Uses best available evidence, nursing/midwifery expertise and respect for the values and beliefs of individuals/groups in the provision of nursing/midwifery care.

3.3 Demonstrates analytical skills in accessing and evaluating health information and research evidence.

(Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia 2006)

And for the RM in the Reflective and Ethical Practice Domain:

Competency 14

Uses research to inform midwifery practice.

Element 14.1

Ensures research evidence is incorporated into practice.


  • Values and acknowledges the importance of research and evidence
  • Maintains current knowledge about relevant research
  • Demonstrates skills in retrieving and understanding research evidence including levels of enquiry and forms of evidence
  • Discusses the implications of evidence with the woman and colleagues
  • Participates in reviews of practice and policies, and
  • Supports research in midwifery and maternity care.

Element 14.2

Interprets evidence as a basis to inform practice and decision making.


  • Underpins midwifery practice with current knowledge and best  evidence

Therefore, as a Registered Nurse or Midwife, you are required to understand, evaluate and appropriately use research evidence to deliver optimal patient care.



Nurses and midwives continually need information to provide person/woman-centred care, plan their work and make decisions; they also need information to ensure they communicate effectively.  Before undertaking any of the learning activities in this topic, take a moment to think and reflect about how, throughout the nursing/midwifery program, you have been introduced to synthesising information and improving your clinical decision-making capabilities.

Please view the following PPT on sources of nursing/midwifery knowledge


Topic 1: The Relationship between Knowledge, Research and Practice (Week 1)

Review of Knowledge, Research and Practice



Please go to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s website or locate your personal copy of National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse (NMBA 2006), Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia (NMBA 2008) and the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia (NMBA 2008).


Please go to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s website or locate your personal copy of National Competency statements for the midwife, (NMBA 2006), Code of Ethics for Midwives, (NMBA 2008) and Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives, (NMBA 2008).

Please review these documents carefully.

Reflect upon the following:

With reference to you ELA scenario you previously reflected upon, think about whether your actions would meet the expectations of a nurse/midwife in Australia.

Did your actions fulfil what is expected of a nurse/midwife as described in the above documents?

Do you consider your actions demonstrate the competencies expected of a nurse/midwife as described in the National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse (NMBA 2006) or in the national Competency Standards for the Registered Midwife(NMBA 2006)?

Review your Reflections


On the discussion board or in your tutorial discuss:

What you now understand about the relationship between knowledge, research and practice

Whether you are now thinking differnetly about clinical decision making and the delivery of care? If yes, in what ways?


There is a requirement that you offer comments to understandings expressed by other students. Please respond respectfully and also please accept feedback you will receive in the spirit of scholarly exchange.


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