Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a healthcare approach that applies the most current research available to improve the safety and health of patients while reducing overall costs and variation in health outcomes. It uses problem-solving approaches that combine best practices from the latest medical reviews with clinical experience and the patient’s values and preferences under treatment. The purpose of research that implements an evidence-based practice entails a description that identifies an understanding of the nature of nursing phenomena and their relationship. EBP also provides an explanation that clarifies the interrelation between phenomena used in nursing as well as the prediction that allows estimation of certain outcomes of the practice. There are three components of evidence-based practice best evidence, clinical expertise, and patient values (Profetto-McGrath, 2005). The best evidence is found in clinically relevant research performed using a sound methodology, and clinical knowledge entails cumulated education, experience, and clinical skills of clinicians. Patient values denote exclusive preferences, prospects, and concerns that every patient takes to a medical experience. A clinical decision is defined as evidence-based when these three elements are integrated.
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According to Rubenfeld and Scheffer (2010), health professionals use multiple hierarchies and rating systems of evidence that grade the quality and strength of evidence produced from research studies to obtain evidence from valid resources and sources. Evidence is published across numerous sources such as books and scientific research with higher quality due to the independent and peer review process. Based on Titler (2008), health professionals have insight and knowledge regarding evidence-based practice and levels of evidence that allow them to obtain valid and quality information from those resources. Reviewing randomized control trials, meta-analyses, clinical practice guidelines, and qualitative and quantitative studies allows the practitioners to access evidence for improving patient outcomes and nursing practice.
The evidence-based practice incorporates the best available study evidence with clinical proficiency and patient ethics to improve outcomes. The process helps improve nursing practice by asking relevant clinical questions and the result of the best evidence as a reply; thereby, it widens professionals’ understanding (Profetto-McGrath, 2005). Since the evidence is evaluated based on clinical outcomes, only quality sources are used for evidence in nursing practice. Evidence-based practice improves the individual experience of care and health of populations and reduces the cost incurred in caring for populations. In addition, burnout among health practitioners is reduced, and clinical experiences improve because the practice improves healthcare delivery and improves outcomes besides diminishing geographical differences in care (Titler, 2008). Burnout is reduced because of increased overall job satisfaction when applying EBP. It acts as an empowering approach to care by giving nurses the tools to become change agents for improved healthcare outcomes.
According to Titler (2008), as embodied in an ethic of problem solving and inquiry, EBP starts with observation. The formulation of the question continues through thorough research pursuit of an answer and integration of best outcomes on care. EBP allows nurses to connect between practical experiences on the ground and means of medical research. They can then provide standardized care, decrease medical errors, and promote positive change for their patients, society, and the globe. Profetto-McGrath (2005) posits that through EBP, nurses are given a chance to take more active roles in shaping the nursing practice in concert with other healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals gain confidence and competence to assess medical literature and carry out trials that increase the pathway for overcoming healthcare costs and providing satisfactory outcomes. Therefore, performing an EBP aims to apply current knowledge and connect it with medical skills and patient liking to standardize and promote care processes and patient outcomes.
Profetto-McGrath, J. (2005). Critical thinking and evidence-based practice. Journal of professional nursing, 21(6), 364-371. Web.
Rubenfeld, G., & Scheffer, B. (2010). Critical thinking tactics for nurses: Achieving the IOM competencies. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Titler, M. G. (2008). The evidence for evidence-based practice implementation. Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses. Web.
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