The idea for an Evidence-Based Project
From the health care providers’ perspective, patient education is delivering information to patients and interacting with them to expand their knowledge about certain health issues and encourage them to improve their health behaviors. Patient education may occur in many forms, one of which is direct communication between members of the medical staff and patients. According to Bastable (2016), education initiatives aimed at senior citizens are particularly important because there are high rates of health illiteracy among members of this group, which makes them vulnerable and brings threats to their health based on the lack of knowledge and skills to address health failures.
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It is proposed to conduct an evidence-based practice (EBP) project for raising awareness of health failures and ways to address them among senior citizens. EBP projects in nursing are different from ordinary nursing research projects. The latter is about reviewing existing data, comparing them, analyzing, and concluding. An EBP project goes further to combine existing data, i.e. external scientific evidence, with clinical experience and patient perspective (DiCenso, Guyatt, & Ciliska, 2014). The proposed project will use theoretical and conceptual frameworks drawn from academic literature, apply the existing knowledge to real-life patient education initiatives conducted among senior citizens, and collect their feedback on the necessity and helpfulness of patient education. The EBP project will thus explore patient education in general along with bringing an actual positive change of making senior citizens more aware of health failure issues.
The Issue to be Addressed
The issue to be addressed is the lack of proper knowledge about health failures among senior citizens, which makes them vulnerable and increases the risks of facing health problems. A major solution in this area is enhancing patient education. For health care providers, one of the ways to do so is to provide patients with educational materials and consult them via personal communication on how they can adopt healthier practices and behaviors, prevent diseases, and deal with health risks more effectively.
The process of education in the proposed project will have three major elements. First, it should be based on academic research, i.e. scientific studies on how patient education materials should be designed and delivered. Second, it will incorporate the actual practices of health care providers, i.e. how they approach patients for educational purposes. Finally, the patient perspective should be included, i.e. feedback should be collected to revise and improve both the content of educational materials and the methods of delivery. The expected outcome is improving patients’ knowledge about health failures in the elderly.
Relevance to Role Specialization
The proposed project is relevant to the role of a nurse practitioner because nurse practitioners are those whose position in terms of interacting with patients is optimal for providing the largest portion of patient education. Bastable (2016) argues that “the teaching role of the nurse [is] an essential part of high-quality care” (p. 12). Due to the nurse practitioners’ connections to patients, which is closer than those of physicians’, the former is more suitable for exploring feedback and providing the patient perspective, which is an important part of an EBP project. Acting simultaneously as a health care provider, an educator, and a researcher, a nurse practitioner can “integrate patient values into the process of health care provision” (DiCenso et al., 2014, p. 17). That is why an EBP project in patient education is something a nurse practitioner can effectively and successfully pursue.
Bastable, S. B. (2016). Essentials of patient education. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
DiCenso, A., Guyatt, G., & Ciliska, D. (2014). Evidence-based nursing: A guide to clinical practice. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.
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