Clinical settings are in continuous search for tools and methods aimed to improve the quality of care and reach better patient outcomes. Evidence-based practice (EBP) of nursing is one of such instruments. EBP is commonly defined as “the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care” (Bussières et al., 2016, p. 216). The definition implies that the utilization of research including various standards, guidelines, as well as high-quality information derived from reliable professional and scholarly sources, is one of the major aspects of EBP. As stated by Black, Balneaves, Garossino, Puyat, and Qian (2015), research utilization in clinical practice has proven to enhance patient safety culture and care results, increase cost efficiency and avoid significant variation in the overall healthcare results in multiple hospitals. Nevertheless, to achieve positive effects, healthcare practitioners should be able to fill the gap between theoretical knowledge and actual practice through active knowledge translation (KT) into everyday clinical practice and professional behaviors.
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KT may be regarded as a core of EBP in nursing. Khoddam et al. (2014) note that the given concept is usually perceived as a process that begins with developing knowledge, its conversion to a suitable form (depending on a particular situation, context, and clinical case), designing of appropriate strategies and tactics to implement the given evidence and inform practitioners. Additionally, according to Ratner (2018), the evaluation of outcomes is another important phase of KT as it helps assess the effectiveness of a selected intervention and EBP as such. As a result of the completion of all KT stages/activities, hospitals may attain the desired output, i.e., efficient change. Moreover, when nurses follow the suggested framework when performing an EBP project, they may receive new empirical evidence either verifying or refuting the applied findings provided by other scholars. In this way, evidence-based nursing, as a form of participatory action research, can contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge.
Advancement of Knowledge in the Field Through EBP
Since research projects involved in EBP usually examine small samples and are administered within organizational contexts, they can be viewed as case studies. As Baker (2011) states, while many scholars criticize the given form of research because it is usually unsystematic and is hard to generalize due to a small number of participants and the lack of controls, it still can largely contribute to a particular sphere of knowledge by categorizing certain experiences in specific circumstances. Case studies “offer the opportunity to learn more about the relationship of organizational processes and context to the success or failure of quality improvement efforts” (Baker, 2011, p. i31). Georgoulakis, Zollmann, Pate, and Hallett (2017) also agree that throughout a long time, case designed studies have provided credible evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions performed to solve multiple practical and clinical problems in a large number of medical disciplines. It means that although the results of EBP research projects realized by nurses in a particular setting may not be widely acknowledged by everybody, they may definitely help find the best solutions applicable to their clinical activities at the local level.
Based on the findings discussed in the given paper, it is possible to conclude that EBP is related to the scientific research process in two ways. First of all, when initiating a quality improvement endeavor, nurses explore and scrutinize research findings that are already available. Secondly, throughout the course of monitoring the application of the selected knowledge in practice, healthcare practitioners can develop their own understanding of the problem of interest, as well as possible its intervention. By systematizing the EBP process and attempting to maintain the scientific rigor at all times of the project implementation, nurses may achieve a sufficient level of reliability of their empirical findings.
Baker, G. R. (2011). The contribution of case study research to knowledge of how to improve quality of care. BMJ Quality & Safety, 20(Suppl_1), i30–i35.
Black, A. T., Balneaves, L. G., Garossino, C., Puyat, J. H., & Qian, H. (2015). Promoting evidence-based practice through a research training program for point-of-care clinicians. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(1), 14–20.
Bussières, A. E., Al Zoubi, F., Stuber, K., French, S. D., Boruff, J., Corrigan, J., & Thomas, A. (2016). Evidence-based practice, research utilization, and knowledge translation in chiropractic: A scoping review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16, 216.
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Georgoulakis, J. M., Zollmann, J. G., Pate, C. L., & Hallett, A. J. (2017). Evidence-based practice and single-case designs in psychotherapy. U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, (October-December), 84-91.
Khoddam, H., Mehrdad, N., Peyrovi, H., Kitson, A. L., Schultz, T. J., & Athlin, A. M. (2014). Knowledge translation in health care: A concept analysis. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 28, 98.
Ratner, N. B. (2018). Selecting treatments and monitoring outcomes: The circle of evidence-based practice and client-centered care in treating a preschool child who stutters. Language, Speech & Hearing Services In Schools, 49(1), 13-22.