Background: Evidence-based practice strengthens patient safety, reduces health costs and improves patient outcome. Despite many initiatives, many nurses do not work evidence-based. Learning by Developing (LbD) is a concept for nursing students to undertake their bachelor thesis as a development project in collaboration with clinical nurses. Aim: To explore whether the LbD concept for collaborative development can contribute to evidence-based practice. Method: Two qualitative focus group interviews were conducted with nurse managers. Data was analyzed with systematic text condensation. Results: Three main themes were developed: “Substantiated changes”; “Preconceptions and culture are challenged» and “Collaborative development creates synergy”. Conclusion: By translating research knowledge to local practice, LbD projects contribute to evidence-based practice by substantiating changes. When students present scientific literature and descriptions of the existing practice, nurses attribute credibility to research and become motivated for change. Synergy emerges when nurses’ clinical expertise joins with students’ time, knowledge and skills.

Keywords: collaboration, evidence-based nursing practice, knowledge translation, nursing education, nursing practice