Evidence-Based Practice Role in Healthcare

Words: 1502
Topic: Health & Medicine
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Abstract

Evidence-based practice (EBP) has revolutionized healthcare, and as such, this essay explores how it relates to research and global health. In Part A of the essay, the benefits of EBP, which make it one of the crucial pillars that underpin contemporary healthcare are examined. These benefits include higher quality care, improved patient outcomes, reduced costs, and better nurse satisfaction, among others. They are the reasons that necessitate the take-up of EBP by nurses.

The second part of the essay, Part B, points out the reasons why nurses should understand research methods before using EBP to facilitate their work. Apparently, EBP is beneficial to healthcare. However, since the knowledge that supports it is generated through research, nurses should be in a position to understand, interpret, and apply the knowledge appropriately. To achieve this feat, they need to understand research methods. In Part C, the essay explores the implementation of EBP outside the U.S. It does so by discussing an EBP implementation approach that was used in by a palliative care facility in Australia. The approach involved the use of a journal club as the starting point for the implementation of EBP. Members of the group read and discussed new research articles each month and used the resultant knowledge to support their practice. Finally, part D summarizes the main issues that feature in the essay. It serves as a conclusion to the essay.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) has revolutionized healthcare. It has unprecedentedly facilitated improvement in the efficiency, quality, and safety of care. Bloom, Fischer, and Orme (2009) consider it the most illustrious development that has occurred in the healthcare realm in the past few decades. As such, this essay explores EBP insofar as its connections to research, and global health are concerned.

Importance of Evidence Based Practice

Since its emergence, EBP’s importance in the healthcare realm has grown exponentially. Today, it is one of the central pillars that underpin healthcare. According to Melnyk, Fineout-Overholt, Stillwell, and Williamson (2010), studies indicate that EBP delivers higher quality care, improved patient outcomes, reduced costs, and greater satisfaction to healthcare practitioners in comparison to conventional nursing approaches. These benefits make EBP an all inclusive solution to the challenges that nurses faced in the past because they often bore the brunt of poor patient outcomes. They were subjected to harsh punitive measures due to failed patient outcomes, yet sometimes, such outcomes resulted from lapses in the healthcare system.

The emergence of EBP altered this subjective approach to nursing issues. Currently, nurses who use EBP have the advantage of using the best available evidence-supported approaches in the provision of care. They do not only operate more efficiently, but also employ practices that have been proven to consume the least amount of funds while simultaneously providing the highest possible quality of care available. Additionally, due to EBP, instances of failed patient outcomes can be objectively evaluated to establish the actual cause of any failure for purposes of documentation and improvement. As a result, the possibility of wrongly punishing nurses or other healthcare practitioners is remote. It is, therefore, imperative that nurses utilize EBP because besides improving all aspects of healthcare, it absolves them of responsibility for failed patient outcomes in cases where they are not culpable.

Understanding research methods

The apparent importance of EBP to the nursing profession makes it critical for nurses to understand research methods. According to Hoffmann, Bennett, and Del Mar (2010), EBP follows a structured and systematic process, which spans five steps. They include converting a clinical issue into a researchable clinical question, seeking the best evidence to address the question, appraising the evidence, integrating the evidence with the expertise to address the clinical issue, and assessing the effectiveness of the evidence using the outcome. Nurses need a clear understanding of research methods to undertake these steps successfully.

Also, Cherry and Jacob (2008) argue that nurses need to understand research methods because research utilization is a critical component of EBP. Elements of research, such as findings, reviews, and evidence-based theory, have to be integrated with existing knowledge and prevailing circumstances to come up with what is referred to as EBP. This process requires nurses to have the ability to understand and utilize research. It, therefore, becomes necessary for nurses to understand research methods because this understanding helps them to differentiate between qualitative and quantitative studies and the kind of issues that each type of research can address effectively. In other words, without a clear understanding of research methods, a nurse would easily attempt to use a quantitative study to address a problem that can only be addressed by the qualitative study. The outcome of such an endeavor would be disastrous. Thus, research methods help nurses to appreciate the fact that research is classifiable into quantitative and qualitative studies, and each category addresses particular nursing problems.

Moreover, EBP’s importance to healthcare keeps growing as time goes by. Today, every activity in the healthcare system is guided by EBP. As such, a proper understanding of the research methods used to generate relevant current knowledge and the issues that each method can address adequately is essential not only for care provision but also for the optimum operation of the healthcare system. In other words, understanding research methods helps nurses to deliver the best possible care to patients. In addition, it helps them to adapt to the ever-changing healthcare environment because the knowledge that guides healthcare practice is generated through research, but it has to be understood and interpreted before being utilized.

Utilizing evidence-based practice around the world

The use of EBP is currently a worldwide practice. The Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia all utilize EBP albeit to varying extents. The general framework followed by EBP is the same, but the mode of implementation and some details vary in different countries. For instance, the approach given to EBP in the U.S. differs in some aspects from the Australian approach. Every country attempts to customize its approach to EBP implementation to its needs and circumstances. The differences that sometimes exist in these country-specific approaches are evident in O’Connor et al. (2009). This article examines a unique EBP approach that was used in Australia to facilitate the provision of palliative care.

The approach entailed the use of a journal club to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of EBP in a privately funded palliative care facility. The process was kick-started by forming a journal club. The club members were issued with relevant research articles each month. They were then expected to attend club meetings in which discussions concerning the relevance and implications of the issued research articles for patient care were held. The meetings were scheduled to take place during the overlap between the morning and evening shifts to allow nurses serving in both shifts to attend (O’Connor et al., 2009). The club meetings were facilitated by a dedicated research fellow appointed by the facility for that specific purpose. The journal club meetings helped nurses to understand and interpret relevant research findings correctly because the facilitator was an individual who had a clear understanding of research methods and was in a position to assist the nurses where necessary.

The result of this initiative was positive because the participants observed that the research studies that were given to them each month turned out to be relevant to their practice (O’Connor et al., 2009). The club meetings made it easy to incorporate the resultant knowledge into practice because every area of concern was addressed adequately. As a result, the nurses were able to apply the latest available palliative care knowledge in their work because, after only seven meetings, a total of 294 relevant articles had been distributed and discussed. The approach helped the nurses a great deal since nurses often lack the time and know-how to carry out individual searches for relevant research that can equip them with the latest knowledge to facilitate their practice. At the beginning of the process, the education committee of the concerned facility selected the topics to be discussed during the meetings. However, with time, the staff started suggesting the topics to be discussed. The change indicates that the staff embraced the initiative.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is apparent that EBP currently occupies a central position in healthcare. Nurses ought to recognize this development and embrace the concept without reservations. It not only improves the quality of care but also improves the efficiency of healthcare facilities because it has expanded to include all the elements of the healthcare system. Therefore, nurses need to have a proper understanding of research methods to use EBP because it requires them to interpret existing research studies before the underlying knowledge can be effectively utilized.

Additionally, the socioeconomic and cultural differences that exist between countries affect the application of EBP. For example, the approach used by America differs from the approach used in Australia. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that EBP positively contributes to nursing practice and should be encouraged.

References

Bloom, M, Fischer, J., & Orme, J. (2009). Evaluating practice: Guidelines for the accountable professional (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. (2008). Contemporary nursing (1st ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, T., Bennett, S., & Del Mar, C. (2010). Evidence-based practice across the health professions (1st ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier Australia.

Melnyk, B., Fineout-Overholt, E., Stillwell, S., & Williamson, K. (2010). Evidence-based practice: Step by step: The seven steps of evidence-based practice. The American Journal of Nursing, 110(1), 51-53.

O’Connor, L., Bennett, P., Gardner, A., Hawkins, M., & Wellman, D. (2009). Implementing a journal club in a palliative care setting: A link in the chain of evidence-based practice. Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship & Research, 16(3), 147-152.