Sparked by the Institute of Medicine’s report titled Crossing the Quality Chasm, research-based decision making has been emphasized for improving care. Patients should receive care that is based on the best available scientific knowledge, and care should not vary from clinician to clinician or from place to place. Implementing research-based practices at the bedside is a complex endeavor. It is all too easy to discover that clinically important research findings are either not known by practitioners or not being used in actual practice. Efforts to instill and sustain research-based practices improve significantly when staff nurses are involved with the research from the start. Institutions that are effective in involving clinicians have built a foundation of infrastructures that enable processes for engaging clinicians to take place. What distinguishes effective from ineffective hospital nursing research and evidence-based practice programs is the presence of structures whereby processes can occur that (1) unleash the creativity of staff by securing their involvement early, (2) educate staff by involving them, (3) create internal expertise for research and evidence-based practice, and (4) ensure that patients experience principled implementation of research-based practices to improve their lives. This article describes infrastructures that can ensure and sustain research-based practices while unleashing the talent and creativity of clinicians as they question practice and ponder the merits of current research. Fostering participation in such clinical inquiry will summon professional growth, influence the lives of patients, and help each nurse develop a unique personal professional legacy.

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