Evidence Based Practice Nursing

The Role of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing

In nursing, Evidence-Based Practice or EBP is a pragmatic approach to handling patients and helping them receive enhanced care with detailed and factual diagnoses. The primary advantage of evidence-based or backed practice is that it tries to mitigate risk through appropriate assessment. 

Basic steps in Evidence-Based Practice Nursing

Evidence-based practice forms a part of the basic nursing skills that a nurse uses to address the needs of a patient and prepare for their treatment plan. They use sequential steps in identifying the problem and think critically to solve it as first responders to a clinical situation. These are a few of the steps used by nurses in evidence-based practice

  1. Recognize the medical issue
  2. Procure and resolve the evidence
  3. Use clinical knowledge 
  4. Check the results 

Evidence-based practice example

  • Giving oxygen to COPD patients: COPD patients find it difficult to breathe on their own. However, the right way to give oxygen to patients suffering from COPD can be life-saving and even minor negligence can lead to catastrophic results. 
  • Elevating the head of patients suffering from acute gastric symptoms between 30 and 45 degrees to dissipate the gas and help in drainage of secretion. 

Promoting EBP in developing countries

Developing countries with low and middle-income earning populations face a shortage of medical facilities and healthcare infrastructure that are otherwise common in bigger nations. Promoting Evidence-Based Practice in countries with major public health challenges can be a paradigm shift that will be beneficial in the coming years. 

Studies have resulted in a positive impact on healthcare initiatives that involve the use of scientific evidence. For instance, the Pediatric Association of Kenya has developed guidelines to follow the evidence-based practice in preventive medicine and the treatment of childhood conditions. The number of sub-Saharan countries that are changing the hitherto barriers to the implementation of scientific evidence-based medical procedures is increasing over time.

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The reason for change at the policy level was required to implement EBP procedures in the African healthcare system. The reason for the change in policy level can be attributed to the many benefits an EBP has over other trials and tribulations in the clinical field. 

Benefits of Evidence-based Practices in Nursing

  • Awareness

Evidence-based Practice is backed by scientific research that has been carried out in a controlled manner and then phased out to volunteer testing. There is enough data pool to negate or support the evidence and the related procedure, drug, or treatment plan is rolled out to the clinical fraternity only after being vetted by the relevant authorities.

Nurses need to be and are adept with awareness of discoveries and technological advances in medical fields. When nurses are aware of the latest EBP procedure, they can gather information and analyze it effectively and make the right decisions for providing the best care to the patients.

  • Patient-centric care

Nurses are trained to use their clinical knowledge and the latest research that involves evidence-based practice in arriving at the most effective treatment plan. To quote an example; Nurses can check the patient’s symptoms and check for the best intervention for the given condition.

Using an elimination method and diagnosis assessment, they can rule out conditions that may have similar symptoms and target the treatment for the exact ailment. When patients receive a targeted treatment for their ailment, they respond to the care and recover promptly.  

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Strategies to evolve EBP for nurses

Nursing students and working RNs have regarded that using clinical research alongside clinical knowledge helps them provide their patients with effective patient care. Different strategies that can be used by nursing instructors and study groups in honing their EBP skills include the following: 

  1. Discussions: Study group and class discussions about the procedures and merits of the latest research papers, and case studies help nurses learn about the best practices in a clinical process. Group members can come up with context-related patient profiles and test each other’s approach to the treatment plan in a given scenario.
  2. Professional clubs: Nurses can join professional clubs that help with opportunities to network and attend clinical and medical seminars and workshops. Exposure to the latest medical conferences expands a nurse’s knowledge and understanding of the latest trends in research and intensifies their skill to analyze and appraise such research.
  3. Clinical rotations: Nurses can use evidence-based practice most naturally through their regular clinical rotations. Here the nurses get a chance to examine a patient’s medical history, analyze the current ailment’s symptoms and share their findings with their instructors and study group members. Further discussions related to the patient care and treatment plan can be journaled as a reflective practice.
  4. Expert coaching: Clinical knowledge is best imparted by preceptors as there can be many unknown factors to a novice nurse’s judgment that can be vetted or ruled out based on an expert’s opinion. Nurses should be able to journal their daily activities and share them with their instructors who can guide them about things that they are doing well and things that they can do differently. Experts help nurses learn the right approach and unlearn the wrong habits.
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Final Words on The Role of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing

Belief vs implementation

The barrier to effective promotion of evidence-based practice is the gap between the belief and the real implementation of the approach. It can be observed in many nursing programs that aspiring nurses value EBP and consider that it plays a vital role in improving the quality of the patient’s care. Nevertheless, very few students believe that EBP is effectively rolled out as a teaching method in their nursing programs. 

Nursing programs and educators have to understand that nurses have to learn the implementation of evidence-based practice. Only reading about the latest research or learning through professional nursing bodies will not strengthen their belief unless they practice it. 

Nursing educators have to review the educational methods critically and try to include EBP as a part of the course content and not an extra credit subject. Evidence-based practice should be the basis of every clinical procedure that is taught and nursing aspirants should understand the cause-effect relationship of a treatment plan.

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