Evidence-based practice is a global development trend in the healthcare field. Through which, clinicians are empowered to make care decision for individual patients on the basis of current best available research evidence together with their clinical expertise and patient preferences, with an ultimate goal of achieving positive impacts on patient outcomes and the care quality (Sackett et al., 2004).
The above development trend calls for an urgent need to build capacity among nurses on the integration of research and clinical practice, and hence promote a culture of evidence-based quality nursing care. In response to this, the Nethersole Nursing Practice Research Unit (NNPRU) was established in 2006 at the Nethersole School of Nursing, with generous support from the Nethersole Endowment Fund of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The initiative was made possible by cooperating with the Geriatric Rehabilitation Unit of the Department of Medicine and Geriatrics of the United Christian Hospital. Hence, the Unit primarily focuses on gerontological care and rehabilitation.
The major tasks of the Unit are to develop, test, implement and evaluate the process and outcomes of various nursing practices, including clinical protocols, clinical pathways and clinical technological and resource innovations (e.g. nurse-coordinated care), disseminate the research findings to inform future practice and facilitate experience sharing among various care settings. The Unit also provides a platform to enhance involvement of nursing colleagues and students in clinical research.