New findings can help nurses to advance their practice and make the quality of healthcare better than before. However, every improvement should have a strong foundation to be implemented because baseless suggestions should not be used to address such a delicate part of humans’ life as their health. For this reason, nurses can use evidence-based practice (EBP) in their work. EBP is a combination of various strategies for knowledge gathering that can be a source of innovation and improvement in healthcare (Aglen, 2016). Such processes of EBP as asking clinical questions, critically appraising the best evidence, and integrating this evidence using one’s expertise, patient preferences, and values are among the strategies of integrating EBP into one’s clinical practice.
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To gather more information, nurses need to ask questions. This seemingly obvious statement has to follow some rules to yield the best results. For instance, some questions such as “how” and “what” may not be exhaustive enough to address all elements of certain issues. On the other hand, a question “why” can help one to reach a deeper understanding of a problem, evaluate its reasons, and identify new explanations. Nevertheless, a proper clinical question should include various components of an issue into its structure. The form of PICOT (population, intervention, comparison, outcome, time) is an excellent example of an inquiry that can help a nurse to gather the most important information (Aglen, 2016). By using this pattern, nurses can understand all problems and structure the answer in a comprehensible way.
Finding evidence may appear to be easy as there are multitudes of studies available online and in physical libraries. Nevertheless, one should always remember that all studies can have their limitations and drawbacks. Therefore, after searching for evidence, one should remember to appraise it critically. This process often involves systematic reviews of found data to analyze its validity and applicability. For instance, research articles found online should be relevant to the topic, recent, and have results that were assessed by other scholars before and after publishing. Featherstone et al. (2015) argue that systematic reviews can take a long time for scholars to finish. Therefore, the validity of such published studies can be very high. Nurses should rely on their critical skills while using different resources as evidence.
After finding the best evidence and proving that it is viable and recent, one can implement this gathered knowledge into practice. The use of EBP further enhances the validity of the method and refines all areas of expertise. Nurses often need to apply EBP in their clinical work, where the opportunity to utilize their scholarly knowledge in the real world setting can be obstructed by outdated practices, traditions, and values (Aglen, 2016). Here, it is vital for nurses to acknowledge old methods and discuss the need for change. The implementation of EBP should address current findings, values, and practice experiences of nurses. It should also include the preferences of patients, as their well-being can be considered the primary purpose of every study. The results of the implementation process can reinforce the importance of EBP.
Strategies mentioned above are only a part of all EBP approaches that nurses can use in their practice. While the process of knowledge gathering and appraisal can appear to be distant from one’s clinical experiences, nurses should learn how to transform and use this information in their work. Nurses should ask questions that are detailed and in-depth. It is vital to remember that the validity of found research should always be evaluated from different points of view. Finally, nurses should try to use their knowledge to change outdated practices and increase the quality of healthcare.
Aglen, B. (2016). Pedagogical strategies to teach bachelor students evidence-based practice: A systematic review. Nurse Education Today, 36, 255-263.
Featherstone, R. M., Dryden, D. M., Foisy, M., Guise, J. M., Mitchell, M. D., Paynter, R. A.,… Hartling, L. (2015). Advancing knowledge of rapid reviews: An analysis of results, conclusions and recommendations from published review articles examining rapid reviews. Systematic Reviews, 4(1), 50.
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