Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the extent to which public health nursing in Michigan local health departments (LHDs) has based services and programs on research and other evidence. Method: The study was conducted using a descriptive survey design. The sample was composed of the 45 chief administrators of public health nursing services in each of the 45 Michigan LHDs. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Narrative answers to open-ended items were examined to determine patterns. Findings: Thirty-six (80%) of the chief nursing administrators of the LHDs responded to the survey. Of these nursing administrators, 28 (77.8%) reported using evidence. Two administrators provided a specific process for incorporating evidence into practice, and six administrators reported that a person(s) was responsible for ensuring evidence-based practice (EBP). Conclusions: While a majority of chief nursing administrators in Michigan LHDs indicated that the agency used evidence to support at least some of the nursing services, and programs provided by the agency, the extent of EBP varied across health departments. Most LHDs appeared to be in Roger's (1995) first stage of implementing EBP, indicating that there is a need in Michigan LHDs to advance from abstract acknowledgment (knowledge) of innovation to incorporation of the innovation into action plans that guide practice. Suggestions for translating evidence into public health nursing practice are provided.

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