Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Building capacity: getting evidence-based practice into healthcare professional curricula
  1. Elaine Lehane1,
  2. Heloise Agreli1,
  3. Simone O' Connor1,
  4. Josephine Hegarty1,
  5. Patricia Leahy Warren1,
  6. Deirdre Bennett2,
  7. Catherine Blake3,
  8. Frank Burke4,
  9. Mark Corrigan5,
  10. Jonathan Drennan1,
  11. Martina Hayes4,
  12. Elizabeth Heffernan6,
  13. Frances Horgan7,
  14. Helen Lynch8,
  15. Joseph McVeigh8,
  16. Nicole Müller8,
  17. Elizabeth O'Keeffe9,
  18. Niamh O'Rourke10,
  19. Eve O'Toole11,
  20. Colm O'Tuathaigh12,
  21. Laura Sahm13,
  22. Eileen Savage1
  1. 1Catherine McAuley School of Nursing & Midwifery, University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Medical Education Unit, University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
  3. 3School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4School of Dentistry, University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
  5. 5Cork Breast Research Centre, Cork University Hospital Group/University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  6. 6Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit, Kerry Centre for Nurse and Midwifery Education, Cork/Kerry, Ireland
  7. 7School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  8. 8School of Clinical Therapies, University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
  9. 9Symptomatic Breast Imaging Unit, Cork University Hospital Group, Cork, Ireland
  10. 10Health Information and Quality Authority, Cork, Munster, Ireland
  11. 11National Cancer Control Programme, Health Service Executive, Dublin, Ireland
  12. 12School of Medicine, University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
  13. 13School of Pharmacy, University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elaine Lehane, Nursing & Midwifery, University College Cork, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland; e.lehane{at}


Fostering a culture of clinical effectiveness in healthcare is crucial to achieving optimum outcomes for patients. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a cornerstone of clinical effectiveness. An EBP capacity-building project commenced in Ireland in 2016, in collaboration with the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford. A key part of this project, reported here, was the development of a competency framework for education in EBP and clinical effectiveness to ensure responsiveness of education standards and curricula of healthcare professionals in this area.

Methods Following a review of national and international reports, professional guidance documents and empirical literature pertaining to clinical effectiveness education (CEE), a preliminary competency framework was developed. Stakeholder consultations were conducted over a 6-month period, which consisted of 13 focus groups (n=45) and included representatives from clinical practice, higher education and professional training sectors, regulator/accrediting bodies, the Department of Health (Ireland) and patient/service user groups.

Results An overarching interprofessional competency framework for CEE was proposed and included the following domains: EBP, quality improvement processes, implementation strategies and collaborative practice: a total of 16 competencies and 60 indicators.

Conclusion A competency framework for CEE for health and social care professionals is presented. It is intended that this framework will provide guidance to healthcare educators and regulators in the construction and revision of curricula, learning outcomes, teaching and assessment strategies, and graduate/clinician attributes.

  • medical education & training

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from


  • Contributors Conceived and designed the study: EL, JH, NOR and EOT. Scoping review procedures (including data screening, extraction and synthesis): EL, HA and SOC. Clinical teaching expertise and focus group recruitment: MC, COT, HL, NM, FB, MH, DB, CB, EH, FH, JMcV, NOR and LS. Focus group data collection and analysis: PLW, HA, EL, JD and SOC. Research report appraisal, drafting and dissemination: All. Manuscript appraisal and final approval: All.

  • Funding This work was commissioned by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit, Department of Health, Ireland.

  • Competing interests NOR was employed by the Department of Health at time of funding.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Social Research Ethics Committee of University College Cork (ref: Log 2018–045).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified participant data are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author ( No commercial reuse of data.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.