Nursing professionals strive for the provision of comprehensive and high-quality health care services. Research and evidence-based practice (EBP) are key factors for achieving the goals mentioned. Nurses should be equipped with certain knowledge and skills to be able to complete various tasks associated with the nursing practice. Some think that the concepts mentioned above are interchangeable, but the two notions differ significantly. It is vital to understand the difference between research and EBP to apply them in the day-to-day practice.
Research is one of the pillars of effective nursing as nursing professionals can learn about the latest advances in the field. It is important to “generate new knowledge or to validate existing knowledge based on a theory” (Conner, 2014, para. 4). The acquisition of new knowledge is an important part of the ongoing development that is essential for any nurse.
For instance, nursing professionals should be aware of the most recent advances in care, treatment as well as medication to be able to evaluate and validate the practices used in their practice. More importantly, Conner (2014) notes that research enables nurses to develop a sound knowledge of theories as well as philosophies used. Clearly, such theoretical frameworks are essential for nursing professionals as they serve as guides in healthcare practitioners’ daily routines.
In contrast to research, EBP is not confined to gaining knowledge. It involves the acquisition of knowledge as well as its utilization in nursing practice. The major goal of EBP is to translate the knowledge gained into practice. Evidence-based practice is aimed at improving practitioners’ skills and services they provide (Stevens, 2013). In simple terms, EBP is the use of the theoretical knowledge gained. At the same time, Conner (2014) emphasizes that it is impossible to note that research is an element of EBP as gaining knowledge within evidence-based practice implies extensive attention to all aspects of nursing.
Thus, research usually aims at increasing the knowledge base on such aspects as medication, treatment, care, policies and so on. However, EBP aims at gaining and utilizing knowledge associated with the areas mentioned above as well as ethics, culture, and even particular patients’ or caregiver’s needs (Conner, 2014). Another distinctive feature of EBP (as compared to research) is that nurses try to apply new knowledge in their daily routines and develop new methods and strategies as well as policies that could be applied in larger contexts.
Thus, nursing professionals can work on the development of specific practices that will be adopted in the healthcare facility or even state- and nation-wide. Nurses can also work on policies that will contribute to the development of healthcare system within a community or the entire country. An example of EBP is the development of policy concerning error reporting that has been developed on the basis of an in-depth research of the problem in a hospital. Such aspects as the location of the hospital, staffing, patients’ demographics, nurses’ working hours and others have been considered.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the major difference between research and EBP is that the former focuses on the acquisition of mainly theoretical knowledge while the latter implies gaining and utilization of the knowledge in everyday nursing practice. The goal of the research is to equip a nursing professional with certain knowledge as well as theoretical frameworks and philosophies.
However, EBP focuses on improving nurses’ skills as well as their impact on the development of the healthcare facility and the entire system, community or entire nation. It is also important to remember that both research and EBP should be a part of the nursing practice as they have different focuses and contribute to professional development differently.
Conner, B.T. (2014). Differentiating research, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement. American Nurse Today, 9(6).
Stevens, K. (2013). The impact of evidence-based practice in nursing and the next big ideas. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(2).