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Evidence-Based Practice and Its Effects on Nursing Practice and Patient Care

Introduction

The 21st century has marked a period where medical knowledge is in a state of continuous change every day. There have been new trends in diseases due to many confounding factors like changing climatic conditions, changes in diet, and lifestyles among others. As a result, there have been great advances in technology, innovations, and changes in policies to respond to these emerging issues. This is to find new solutions to our health problems. This has led to much attention being diverted to research on the medical issues at hand. During the last decades of the 20th century, clinicians and physicians acknowledged the importance of using scientific evidence to make decisions on the best care and approach to take to provide efficient medical care. The term “Evidence-Based Practice” was thus coined. In nursing, Evidence-Based Practice can be defined as the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the current evidence in making decisions about the best care of individual patients (Sacket, M.L., Gray JM.; Haynes R.B.,& Richardson WS., 1996, p.71). Nursing research consists of undertaking an inquiry into some clinical issue with an intention of refining, extending, or developing the nursing knowledge. Evidence-based practice is of the view that evidence should be used in the context of a patient’s likes and desires, the clinical situation, and the expertise of the clinician at hand (Beyea & Slattery, 2006 p.1). To gather the evidence needed, there is a need to use the available resources to obtain the much-needed information. This essay analyzes evidence-based practice giving its effects on the practice of nursing and the patients’ care.

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The use of evidence-based practice has been of great help to the nursing profession. It has aided in researching to find the best ways of practice in handling certain issues like medicine, patient care, health care financing and staff recruitment. Evidence-based nursing has enlightened clinicians to realize that what they do practice can sometimes cost life thus the professionals like nurses, physicians and others have realized that doing a good job can make a difference in saving lives, easing patient suffering, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort thus improving health and promoting healthier lifestyles (Estabrooks, 1998, p.31). In the modern world, many decisions are made after the presentation of conceptual evidence to substantiate your thoughts and ideas. It is due to this that this issue was selected. In this essay paper, evidence-based practice is related to nursing, its influence on the health care needs of clients and nursing practice is highlighted. What comes next are its implications to the future of nursing practice and a discussion of a related health care policy.

Impacts of evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice has had a big impact on the provision of efficient health care. It helps nurses provide patient care that is of a very high quality since it is based on scientifically proven facts as a result of research. It is no longer the era where advice was sought from colleagues, books that are outdated or relying on traditional practices. According to Pravikoff et al (2005, p.48), many nurses provide care according to what was learned in school and they rarely read research reports, journal articles and the hospital library for the required reference. This shows that most knowledge and skills that the nurses possess are outdated. However, evidence-based practice has been applied thus ensuring health care is in accordance with recent research findings. Evidence-based practice impacts are as follows; it has contributed to the science of nursing. To gather enough evidence, a lot of research has to be carried out about the topic. This generates a greater understanding of the issue and adds value and important skill to the nursing profession. Secondly, it has resulted in improved patient outcomes in terms of reduced suffering and an increase in the number of lives saved. The various researches carried out have come up with enough evidence in support of a certain procedure, medicine or lifestyle that improves and restores health. These facts are then applied to the patients who record improved results in good time to save their lives. Evidence-based practice results in generation of new information that is relevant to the changing world. This has enabled nursing as a profession to remain relevant and practice modern-day technology. Due to the substantial evidence in possession of the nurses, they can make confident decisions on the application of certain procedures on their patients or to use a certain drug for a specified type of care. The health care sector has been undergoing major reforms to remain relevant to the changing trends in medical practice. Evidence-based practice has been used to help in formulating policies to be used for improving patient care. It is worth noting that due to these benefits, evidence-based practice has been adopted as the upcoming trend in modern health care provision.

Importance of EBP to nurses

Evidence-based practice has had a great impact on the nurses during their practice. A lot of research has been undertaken to provide the best practice procedures for taking care of patients and to improve nursing as a profession. However, Burrows and McLeish, (1995,p.246) stated that it is still said that many nursing practices in the 1990s were based on experience, tradition, intuition, common sense and untested theories. Furthermore, as Hunt (1996, p.244) argues, nurses while conducting their researches do not produce their findings in a usable form, they do not study the problem of practitioners, they do not manage to persuade and convince others about their value in patient care, and they fail to develop programs that are vital for the introduction and acceptance of innovations and they lack the authority of access to some necessary information. Despite these allegations, there has been a change in the view of nursing and research.

Evidence-based practice has enabled nurses to conduct different types of research to improve their practice. New procedures have been developed that save time and resources for both the patients and the nurses. For instance, (Madsen, Sebolt, T., Cullen, L., Folkedahl, B., Mueller, T., Richardson, C.& Titler, M..,2005) reports that after an evidence-based project was carried to describe the benefits of stopping the routine practice of listening to bowel sounds of listening to patients who had undergone abdominal surgery, researchers did a review of current practice and developed a new guideline for practice. This resulted in saving a lot of time without affecting the outcome of the patient. Due to the embracement of research for gathering evidence, nurses are able to work together with other health care staff like doctors and lab specialists to identify clinical problems and find solutions to them. The research entails working in teamwork with each party inputting his/her expertise for success. Thus, a good working environment is created that is of befitting to everyone. By using evidence-based practice the nurses are able to predict the outcome of various diseases based on evidence hence accuracy. This is of help for disease prognosis and the patients and their families build trust in the nurses. Sociologically, this has improved the patient-nurse relationship and enabled good communication between these parties. Ultimately health care improves and disease burden in the population decreases. Finally, research taking has enabled career development for the nurses (Sacket et al, 1996, p.77). Many health institutions have channeled a lot of resources for research and this is used for training the health professionals nurses included who take part in the research undertakings.

EBP and patient health care needs

Evidence-based practice has enabled a lot of research to be carried out for quality improvement in the health care sector. Examples are research on improving adherence to smoking cessation and the best practices towards talking that and the assessment of the effectiveness of a program on patient satisfaction in the emergency department. All these kinds of research are mostly directed towards the receiver of medical care who is the patient. EBP has enabled great advancement in nursing technology and discovery of the best practices towards certain diseases. This has reduced greatly the pain and suffering that patients used to go through several years ago. Embracement of modern technology has been timely in saving many patients’ lives that could have otherwise died if those procedures were not applied. This is demonstrated by the recovery rates to some diseases which used to kill many people. For instance, a lot of researches have been carried out on HIV/AIDS and issues concerning stigmatization and adherence to ARVs. This has led to reduction in patient suffering and saved many lives. Due to the adoption of EBP, medical advances have resulted in innovation of machines that are used by the patients. These machines have resulted in lowering medical costs at a greater level hence saving finances. Operations that once consumed a lot of money can now be carried out locally and cheaply. Finally, advances in technology have brought in procedures that can be carried out very fast hence saving the patient a lot of hours which could have been spent bedridden or recovering.

Implications of EBP to the future of nursing care

Nurses have a duty to continue providing improved care to the patients to save lives and end suffering. EBP will provide many solutions to so many questions that entail nursing care. They have to continue researching to find the best evidence to support an intervention (Hunt, 1996, p.424). By so doing they will be in a position to provide the best practice in care and achieve higher outcomes for both the patient and their families.

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The nurses must be in a position to break the barriers hindering research undertakings. In the future there should be administrative support, sufficient time is set aside for research, awareness to be created among the nurses on evidence-based practice among others.

Relevant health care policy

Research on nursing entails use of human beings as respondents or the subjects of the research. Various ethical issues are involved in carrying out research and the researchers must strictly observe the regulations. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have various regulations involving the dissemination of information and human subject protection from any harm that may occur during research. Before any commencement of evidence research permission should be sought from various governing bodies in each country like the International Research Board. This will ensure the adoption of the findings and hence an improvement of evidence-based practice in nursing.

Various researches have been carried out on the issue of evidence-based practice and its application in modern-day nursing. This has added profound knowledge to the nursing community on application of evidence-based practice for effective nursing care. An illustration of a research paper has been attached.

Summary and conclusion

In summary, Evidence-Based Practice is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of the current evidence in making decisions about the best care of individual patients. It is important to the nursing profession and has helped achieve a lot both for the patient and the nurses. To the nurses, it has enhanced career development, brought new practice procedures and enhanced teamwork in the health care sector. This has worked well to improve performance. EBP has been beneficial to the patient in reducing pain and suffering, reducing death and saving on finances and time. In the future there should be administrative support, sufficient time is set aside for research, awareness to be created among the nurses on evidence-based practice among others. Various health policies have been set up to guide and regulate the research process to maintain the highest level of ethics in research. One example is HIPAA.

In conclusion, the nursing profession should be encouraged to adopt the evidence-based practice to be relevant to the modern world. Every member of the nursing profession must follow in the footsteps of the mother of nursing, Florence Nightingale in provision of the best care to those in need and together creating a world free of suffering.

Reference list

Beyea, S.C. & Slattery, M.J. (2006). Evidence Based Practice in Nursing: A Guide to Successful Implementation. Web.

Burrows D.E. & McLeish K. (1995). A model for research-based practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing 4, 243-247.New York: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporation

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Estabrooks, C.A. Will Evidence Based Nursing Practice Make Practice Perfect? Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 1998, Vol. 30, N0.1, 15-36. United States: West Publishing Company.

Hunt J. M. (1996). Guest Editorial. Journal of Advanced Nursing 23, 423-425. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporation.

Madsen, D., Sebolt, T., Cullen, L.,Folkedahl, B., Mueller, T.,Richardson, C.& Titler, M. (2005). Listening to bowel sounds: An evidence-based practice project. American Journal of Nursing, 105 (12), 40–4. West Camden Street Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Pravikoff, D. S., Tanner, A.B., & Pierce, S.T. (2005). Readiness of U. S. nurses for evidence-based practice. American Journal of Nursing, 105 (9), 40–51.

Sackett, D. L., Gray JM,; Haynes R.B.; Richardson WS. (1996). Evidence based medicine: What it is and what it isn’t. British Medical Journal, 312, 71–72. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporation.

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