The Benefits of Evidence Based Practice in Nursing

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Evidenced Based Practice (EBP) is essential to enable all nurses to provide the most current up to date practises for their patients. This process involves research, systematic review of current practises, critical thinking skills, evaluation and application to the clinical setting. In addition to this, the nurse must take into account the patients’ preferences. For nurses to have professional autonomy they must be able to justify their actions and demonstrate an understanding of why they perform the tasks they do. This defines them as unique professionals judged by their knowledge and not simply by their hands on skills.

As stated by McSherry, Simmons & Pearce (2002);

“Nurses are responsible for the care they provide for their patient. They have to be active, competent and autonomous in providing this care and be able to justify what they do. It is no longer acceptable for nurses to base care on ritual and tradition- they must be able to justify the decision they have made about appropriate care and treatment on the basis of a professional expertise which includes using research evidence to inform practice.” (p.1).

One of the best known definitions of evidence based practice is; “The conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence about the care of individual patients.” (Sackett et al. 1997, as cited in Holland & Rees, 2010, p. 7). Individualised care and research is by no means a new concept. Florence Nightingale first demonstrated EBP through her note taking and analysis of data, this resulted in reduced mortality rates for medical and surgical patients as hygiene practises were improved. (Schmidt & Brown, 2009). For today’s nurse this transcribes into using the best research knowledge to make clinical d...

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...(Eds.). The evidenced- based practice manual for nurses. (pp.273-291).Sydney, NSW: Churchill Livingstone.

Polit, D.F., & Beck, C.T. (2010). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice. (7th ed.). Philadelphia, USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Rees, C. (2010). Understanding evidence and its utilization in nursing practice. In Holland, K., & Rees, C. (Eds.). Nursing: Evidence-based practise skills. (pp.20-39). New York: Oxford University Press.

Schmidt, N.A., & Brown, J.M. (2009). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research: Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Stillwell, S.B., Fineout-Overholt, E., Melnyk, B.M. & Williamson, K. M. (2010). Evidence- Based Practice Step by Step: Asking the clinical question: A key step in evidence-based practice. American Journal of Nursing, 110(3),58-61.
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