Define evidence-based practice in nursing

Written by jared lewis
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Define evidence-based practice in nursing
Recording data to assess treatments is important for evidence-based nursing. (lovely doctor 24 image by Paul Moore from

Evidence-based practice in nursing is best defined by the process it describes. As part of the daily activity of clinical nursing and clinical nursing education, evidence-based practice provides nurses and nurse educators with a vehicle by which they can provide the best and safest health care possible. D.T. Sullivan noted in a 2010 article in Creative Nursing that the renewed emphasis on evidence-based nursing in nursing education stems from concerns that have surfaced in recent years regarding the safety of the health care system.

Formulating Questions

According to the Yale University Nursing Library website and the University of Minnesota, the first step in evidence-based practice is to formulate the right questions. These questions include background questions such as "what causes diabetes?" These questions have a practical application such as the need to solve a clinical problem. Clinical questions also include foreground questions. These pertain to how the disease or condition in question is typically treated.

Finding the Answers

Once the right questions have been formulated, the clinician can then look for potential solutions to the problem by performing research. Research involves locating sources that point to possible treatments and outcomes. Clinical nurses often uses databases such as CINAHL and MEDLINE to perform their searches for possible interventions.


Evidence without evaluation is just evidence. There is a need to evaluate the evidence once it has been located. Not all clinical treatments are the same, nor or all sources that claim to provide evidence of a possible clinical treatment. In its description of the evidence-based practice of nursing, Yale University notes the need to recognise that there not only different levels of possible treatment, but also different levels of quality in terms of research sources. Levels of research quality are based on the quality of the research design and its applicability to the given clinical situation.


Application of the evidence immediately follows the critical evaluation. The main question that arises at this stage is how the evidence can be applied to meet your specific situation or need. Concerns to consider help provide an answer to the applicability question include the validity of the diagnosis, how possible therapeutic techniques might affect the patient in question, whether or not there is any adverse risk to the patient and the overall prognosis considered in light of the treatment. Once the decision has been made to provide a certain treatment, application of the treatment is often made.


Once treatment has been made, the clinical nurse then re-evaluates whether or not the evidence used to arrive at a therapeutic response was adequate for their particular patient and situation. Nurses must assess whether or not the intervention was successful. They must also be cognizant of whether their findings might contribute new knowledge to the nursing field as well as how they will apply their findings throughout the rest of their nursing career.

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