Conducting a literature search is essential for evidence-based nursing practice as it helps improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care via the combination of current research evidence with clinical expertise. According to Gray et al. (2016), the focus of clinical research in the 21st century has shifted from the treatment of health issues to their prevention, along with the promotion of patient education. The process of literature search might be challenging for several reasons, especially if the research requires the highest level of evidence on a specific topic. On the one hand, many current resources containing high-quality evidence are still dedicated to the treatment of diseases rather than patient education. Moreover, the sources with relevant information and evidence might be outdated. Therefore, the challenges of performing a literature search are associated with finding a current source that contains high-quality evidence related to a particular research topic and combines all aspects of a particular issue. Since secondary sources are not evidence, I used primary sources, including two peer-reviewed scholarly articles, for my EBP project research based on the clinical practice problem of patient non-compliance with VTE prophylactic treatment.
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The search terms and keywords I used during my online search included “VTE patient non-compliance risks”, “VTE patient compliance management and improvement”, and “VTE prophylaxis non-compliance complications”. The nature of the research topic required finding resources focused on the management of patient non-compliance and thromboembolism prevention rather than the treatment of VTE. Systematic reviews are at the top of the evidence pyramid, so I began my literature research with the PubMed database looking for systematic review articles. During the literature search process, I came across multiple systematic reviews examining VTE’s problem but disregarding patient non-compliance and VTE prophylaxis. PubMed database search eventually led me to one critically-appraised, peer-reviewed individual article investigating the risks of VTE non-compliance and the improvement of health outcomes via patient education on VTE prophylactic measures. Since Google Scholar includes articles from many databases and scholarly journals, I decided to search for additional literature sources there. Google Scholar helped me to find the article listing the risks and outcomes of VTE non-compliance, including the increased expenses for healthcare providers and the significant number of preventable deaths caused by hospital-acquired VTE complications.
The easiest step in the process of the literature search was selecting the database. Brown (2018) claims that PubMed is one of the most accessible online databases containing primary and secondary healthcare sources. As the systematic reviews available in the database did not meet the requirements for my research, I had to move down the evidence pyramid and search for critically-appraised individual articles. Choosing the proper database and expanding my search by including peer-reviewed articles helped me to save time and effort as I found the relevant article in about 20 minutes. However, I had difficulty finding another primary source to support my research, so I had to look for it using additional resources. While the topic of VTE was frequent in the database search results, there were little to no sources on patient non-compliance with VTE treatment. When I entered the search terms, Google Scholar displayed the list of current articles, including one primary source related to my research topic and covering the most important aspects of VTE patient non-compliance. Overall, I had to spend about an hour completing the literature research.
Brown, S. J. (2018). Evidence-based nursing: The research-practice connection (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Gray, J. R., Grove, S. K., & Sutherland, S. (2016). The practice of nursing research: Appraisal, synthesis, and generation of evidence (8th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.