Evidence-based practices involve recognition of evidence based on research, which had been done when making decisions. Evidence-based research is important to nurses because it makes them confident the decisions they make on the impacts it will have on the patient. In this paper, the term “evidence-based practice” has been defined. ESP and the reasons nurses should understand research methods. Using diabetic condition in Sweden, use ESP by nurses around the world has been discussed. Key words: evidence-based practice, nursing, quality, chronic health illness.
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The term “evidence-based medicine” emerged in 1980s to describe the role of scientific evidence in determining best treatment practices. Later the term was adopted in other fields like education, psychology, library, and nursing. The term “evidence based practice” is used in nursing in recognition of evidence based on science in making clinical decision. It is defined as scientific evidence in deciding for the care and treatment of patients. The decisions should be based on a research, which had been done and results interpreted according to specific rules of evidence-based practice. Qualitative and theoretical and theoretical studies are ignored by evidence-based norms.
The most preferred is quantitative studies based on principles, which act as the evidence. The main aim of evidence-based practice is to provide and enhance health care by incorporating evidence provided by experts with the values, preferences, and needs of the patients. Evidence is provided by collecting data and analyzing it to get the results. The results are used to formulate questions then hypothesis is tested (Scullion, 2002).
Importance of Evidence-Based Practice to Nurses
Nurses are important in caring for the patients. It is important for nurses to use evidence-based practice because the practice will help them in making decisions on the care of patients, according to evidence provided in current research. Based on research and knowledge got from research, nurses will be able to provide patients with high quality care instead basing care about myths, outdated textbooks, colleagues’ advices, and the tradition of doing thing in the way they always have been done. For instance, nurses should not read their textbooks to answer clinical questions. This is because books are not published annually and the edition that the nurse is using may not contain recent discoveries. If they must use books, nurses should ensure that they use the latest edition.
Thompson (2000) argues that the efficiency of nurses is increased by using evidence-based practices. It is easier for nurses to decide how best to care for patients if the decision is supported by research rather than making a trial of something, which may not be of help to the patient. Evidence-based practice saves nurses time, which they to care for patients some of who require thorough care. Nurses are supposed to decide on the methods of caring for the patients depending on an individual’s health problems.
Patients are may be affected positively or negatively by the decisions. If the decisions of nurses are based on proven research methods, the decision is likely to have positive impacts on the patient. Second, nurses will be sure about the expected consequences of the decision, thus they will avoid making trials. This will save lives of thousands of patients.
Utilization of evidence-based practice keeps the practices of nurses up to date. Nurses should be informed of new discoveries so that they can apply in improving quality of services offered to patients. This encourages nurses to continue reading materials, which contain recent research to gain new knowledge. This equips nurses with wide knowledge in the field, thus keeping the practice up to date. For instance, consider a nurse aged 40 who uses the knowledge she got in nursing school to decide on how to care for the sick. The probability of making wrong decision is high because she is relying on outdated knowledge (Scullion, 2002).
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Practices based on that knowledge does not provide quality outcomes in the system of health care. Evidence-based care reflects evidence based on latest research. Nurses should use research reports, hospital libraries, and journal articles as reference materials. Nurses will be confident when they provide the patients with care based on evidence-based practice. Nurses will have no doubts on the impacts of the decisions they arrive on (Thompson, 2000).
Importance of Understanding Research Methods in Implementing Evidence-Based Practice
According to Thomas (1999), the main reason for carrying out research is to generate knowledge. Nurses and other healthcare workers should be made to understand research findings regardless of implementation of qualitative and quantitative methods of research. Research should investigate systematically and produce knowledge, which guides, and shapes the nursing profession. Knowledge of research methods will enable nurses to choose a method, which is likely to yield positive results.
Nurses acquire knowledge on evidence-based practice through qualitative methods. Qualitative research methods provide answers to most of the potential problems related to human health. Qualitative research traces its roots in human sciences and philosophy. The approach plays a vital role in providing evidence-based practices to the nursing career, which is widely accepted (Fink, Thompson & Bonnes, 2005).
Nurses should understand and have knowledge on how to carryout research. They should be able to determine the best research method and putting it into practice. Before students qualify for registration as nurses, most countries require them to be competent in these skills. Understanding research methods will help nurses to understand how they can get information pertaining health related issues. Some data collection methods are time-consuming and are expensive.
Depending on financial position, knowledge of research methods helps nurses to make the choice of research method to use. The choice of research method depends on the type of data, which should be collected (Thompson, 2000). For instance, some researches require direct observation method of data collection. Others will require sampling, focus group discussions, use of questionnaires, and interviews. Knowledge in data collection enables nurses to make wise decision. Last, knowledge of research methods enables nurses to decide on the best evidence practice to be applied (Thomas, 1999).
How Nurses are using Evidence-Based Practice around the World
Evidence-based practices are available in healthcare systems for conditions like diabetes, heart failure, and asthma. These practices vary, and they are not always carried out in health institutions. Research knowledge is communicated verbally or through writing. The cost of providing health care is increasing at a high rate because of increase in incidents of chronic diseases in the Nordic countries. These are countries in northern Europe, including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Norway. Under-treatment, under-diagnosis and failure to use primary and secondary prevention measures are cited as reasons behind the increase.
Studies have shown that improvement in provision of health care is required. This would reduce the cost of healthcare and number of patient admissions. Clinical and organizational processes can improve the quality of healthcare offered to patients with long-term illnesses like diabetes, heart failure, and asthma. Physical management of chronic condition can be improved by clinical guidelines and proper education (Brommels & Ovretveit, 2008).
To manage diabetes, nurses in Sweden apply various programs. In most of the health care facilities in Sweden, nurses coordinate care for diabetic patients. The primary health care in Sweden is highly computerized. This helps the country to detect easily diabetic conditions in patients. Nurses educate diabetic patients on how to take care of themselves while at home. This has been useful to diabetic patients who have survived with the condition for many years. Nurses inform patients on proper diet and necessary measures to take. For instance, to raise sugar level, patients are advised to take sugary foods. Other programs include motivation and developing incentives, developed information technology systems, accountability, and measurements (Brommels & Ovretveit, 2008).
The quality of health care depends on the effectiveness of care and treatment offered by clinical officers. Nurses have the responsibility of providing quality health care services. Because of lack of enough time, most of the evidence-based practices do not succeed. Nurses are already overloaded with duties and quality improvement adds nurses an extra task. Nurses come into contact and provide services to the largest number of patients. They count much to health problems and recovery of patients. Lack of evidence-based practices increases the chances of causing harm to the patients. This makes it important for nurses to keep on grading, critiquing, and reading evidence to be updated on the current findings. Evidence-based practices have helped in improvement of the quality of health care services offered to patients by nurses (Sackett, et al. 1996).
Brommels, M. & Ovretveit, J. (2008). Chronic illnesses in Swedish Primary health care: Use of evidence based best practice and information technology, 376-385. Web.
Fink, R., Thompson, J. & Bonnes, D. (2005). Overcoming barriers and promoting the use of Research in practice. Journal of nursing administration, 35(3), 121–129.
Sackett, D., Rosenberg, W., Gray, A., Haynes, R. & Richardson, W. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ, 312(7023), 71–2.
Scullion, P. (2002). Effective dissemination strategies. Nurse Res, 10(1), 65–77.
Thomas, L. (1999). Clinical practice guidelines. Evidence-based nursing, 2(2), 38–9.
Thompson, P. (2000). Implementing evidence-based health care: the nurse teachers’ role in supporting the dissemination and implementation of sign clinical guidelines. Nurse Education Today, 20(3), 207–17.
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