What is Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing?
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Evidence-based nursing practice focuses on critical thinking and proven outcomes. Also called EBP, it supplements what nurses learned in the classroom and what they read in nursing literature. It also helps them evaluate the latest research and technology and determine how to apply it in a real-world, clinical setting.
How EBP Works
The purpose of EBP is to take research out of the sphere of academia and into real-world settings by helping nurses understand why something works and how it applies to the patient’s situation. When applying EBP, nurses look not only at raw research data but also at quality improvement data and the opinions of experts. When implementing the latest research, they don’t just follow step-by-step directions. Instead, they combine these recommendations with their own expertise and the needs of the individual patient to provide individualized care.
Evidence-based practice might prompt nurses to alter methods, even those they’ve used for years, if the evidence contradicts what they learned in school or what has been standard practice for decades. With its focus on proven outcomes, EBP can contribute to improved patient care. It can also help nurses save time and work more efficiently. For example, evidence might show that it’s not necessary to document a patient’s condition as frequently as is required by the hospital. Nurses can decrease the amount of time spent on paperwork and more time interacting with individual patients and their families.