Selection of a method to rate the strength of scientific evidence for AORN recommendations

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Aorn J

Journal/Book/Conference Title

AORN Journal

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version



The use of scientific evidence to support national recommendations about clinical decisions has become an expectation of multidisciplinary health care organizations. The objectives of this project were to identify the most applicable evidence-rating method for perioperative nursing practice, evaluate the reliability of this method for perioperative nursing recommendations, and identify barriers and facilitators to adoption of this method for AORN recommendations. A panel of perioperative nurse experts evaluated 46 evidence-rating systems for quality, quantity, and consistency. We rated the methods that fully covered all three domains on five aspects of applicability to perioperative nursing practice recommendations. The Oncology Nursing Society's method was rated highest for all five aspects of applicability, and interrater reliability of this method for perioperative recommendations was 100%. Potential barriers to implementation of the rating method include knowledge deficit, staff resources, resistance to change, and fear of showing that lower levels of evidence support some recommendations. Facilitators included education, resource allocation, and starting small. Barriers and facilitators will be considered by the implementation team that will develop a plan to achieve integration of evidence rating into AORN documents. The AORN Board of Directors approved adoption of this method in June 2010.


Evidence-Based Nursing, Guidelines as Topic, Perioperative Nursing/standards, Quality of Health Care, Societies, Nursing

Published Article/Book Citation

AORN Journal, 93:4 (2011) pp.433-444. DOI:10.1016/j.aorn.2010.11.034.

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