Healthcare practitioners should be aware of different procedures, tools, and guidelines that amount to evidence-based practice. Caregivers and clinicians who use them will provide exemplary and high-quality medical services to their patients. This paper gives a detailed analysis of the differences between these tools: clinical guidelines, practice standards, and algorithms.
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Clinical Guidelines, Practice Standards, and Algorithms
Different agencies and associations develop clinical guidelines to dictate the actions and procedures caregivers undertake to provide sustainable medical care. Nadeau, Pinner, Murphy, and Belderson (2017) define “clinical practice guidelines” as statements that outline the best approaches for optimizing health services and care delivery. They are evidence-based initiatives since emerging ideas and concepts in the field of nursing inform them.
A practice standard differs significantly from a clinical guideline since it focuses on the usual activities or responsibilities practitioners undertake under specific circumstances. Such approaches are normal and result in positive patient outcomes. A good example is the normal practice of withholding patients’ medical information (Nadeau et al., 2017). This means that some professionals might use the two terms interchangeably despite the fact that they have different meanings.
The term “algorithm” refers to a set of guidelines implemented to address existing or emerging challenges (Meneses et al., 2016). Procedures that deliver positive results after a given event or problem can become evidence-based algorithms. Consequently, they differ from practice standards and clinical guidelines because they entail the application of step-by-step processes.
As a healthcare professional, I see myself using these three tools in my clinical practice. For instance, I will be focusing on clinical guidelines to manage and treat specific conditions, including diabetes and obesity. It will be appropriate to consider emerging guidelines from different agencies, organizations, or associations in an attempt to improve the experiences of my patients. Practice standards are powerful tools that will also become useful in my future career.
I will be applying them to meet the changing needs of my patients. Some of these approaches will include promoting patient autonomy or confidentiality, acting in a professional manner, and relating positively with my colleagues to transform care delivery (Sox & Stewart, 2015). Finally, algorithms will always guide me to meet my patients’ needs. These step-by-step approaches will empower me to make sound clinical decisions, improve my nursing philosophy, and minimize sentinel events.
I have always completed or pursued different initiatives and practices in my unit as a caregiver. Such actions continue to transform the experiences and health outcomes of different patients. Unfortunately, I never understood why I was doing such activities or why they work. One of them is the use of detailed charts and diagrams to address various issues, including pain management and clinical decision-making (Meneses et al., 2016).
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For example, my unit has detailed visual illustrations explaining how nurses and caregivers can reduce pain in patients. I have also been using existing charts to learn and improve my nursing philosophy. However, the completed discussion has equipped me with adequate information about the nature of these practices. I now understand that such charts and illustrations are based on the concept of algorithm. These tools are critical and can empower more practitioners to deliver high-quality care.
The above discussion has revealed that nurses can consider different tools to offer high-quality medical services to their patients, including algorithms, clinical guidelines, and practices standards. I have been using them in my unit to empower different patients. I will, therefore, continue to identify emerging algorithms and clinical guidelines to improve my leadership skills and guide my patients to engage in self-care practices.
Meneses, S. R., Goode, A. P., Nelson, A. E., Lin, J., Jordan, J. M., Allen, K. D., … Hunter, D. J. (2016). Clinical algorithms to aid osteoarthritis guideline dissemination. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 24, 1487-1499. Web.
Nadeau, K., Pinner, K., Murphy, K., & Belderson, K. M. (2017). Perceptions of a primary nursing care model in a pediatric hematology/oncology unit. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 34(1), 1-13. Web.
Sox, H. C., & Stewart, W. F. (2015). Algorithms, clinical practice guidelines, and standardized clinical assessment and management plans: Evidence-based patient management standards in evolution. Academic Medicine, 90(2), 129-132. Web.