Evidence-based practice in nursing is growing increasingly popular. While many nurses apply their knowledge to patients on a case-by-case basis, many dive deep into research and medical precedents to better inform their practice.
Here are some of the ways that evidence-based practice can inform and enhance nursing in general:
What is evidence-based practice?
Evidence-based practice (EBP), or evidence-based nursing, is how nurses use up-to-date research and studies to make the best-informed patient decisions. It helps them determine how prior cases and treatment precedents can support specific patient needs.
One of the most desirable elements of EBP is combining the clinical rigor informed by scientists and studies with a nurse’s experience and understanding of their patients’ needs. Therefore, instead of solely relying on studies and science-based research, each nurse can exercise their understanding of each specific situation and each patient’s needs to determine the best move forward for treatment.
What differentiates EBP from general nursing is that it relies on nurses keeping up to speed with the latest practices, findings and interpretations of long-standing research. While this can mean nurses must undertake much reading and theoretical research alongside applying their knowledge physically, it can be highly effective at producing a 360-degree care package for millions of patients.
What are the benefits of evidence-based nursing?
While some nurses may prefer the physical exploration of treatments and treating their patients purely on a case-by-case basis, EBP holds several key benefits in patient outcomes. Here are a few:
It encourages research and questioning
Evidence-based nursing is a great way to promote research and even questioning in the nursing field. Nurses who feel encouraged to ask questions and undertake additional research may be in a better position to help solve critical care issues and therefore be of greater service to their patients.
While it is healthy for all nurses to question what they learn and how they expect to work with patients, EBP suggests it is actively the best route for patient outcomes. Crucially, EBP can make the difference between following ‘trial and error’ and instead confidently choosing one or two treatment routes with a grounding in research and preceding cases.
Nursing education, in general, is recommended for career success — though adopting a research mindset post-graduation reaps broader benefits.
Science-backed research provides better-informed care
Nurses want to do the best for their patients — the more information they have available, the better informed their care will become. Even if solutions do not arise immediately, research through an EBP model will enable nurses to look at the bigger picture more clearly. They will recall studies and which treatments produced the best results for similar people.
The model also allows them to bring multiple solutions and options to their patients that they might otherwise miss out on. Therefore, EBP potentially helps to broaden a nurse’s toolkit. While they may not have specialist knowledge, they have broader general treatment knowledge to ensure patients get the respite they need quickly.
Nurses are always up to date on processes and technologies
In the medical field, processes and technologies are constantly advancing. However, it is easy for nurses to fall behind and make mistakes if they fail to keep up to speed. Falling behind does not only mean they need more preparation for the tasks ahead, but it also means they could miss out on critical ways to care for patients.
All patients leave their wellbeing in the hands of the healthcare professionals in front of them, confident that they are in the best hands. So, staying informed about the latest processes, technologies and practices is the only way to fulfill that promise.
EBP immediately achieves this result. Rather than taking the ‘trial and error’ route, nurses enter treatment and clinics, confident they know how to use the latest tools and concepts. Of course, this will mean extra work and research for nurses — but there will be time for them to balance their workloads.
Nurses feel more empowered and confident
Being better informed about recent studies, technological advances and current healthcare discoveries means nurses feel more confident in their choices and how they treat each patient. As a result, patients feel more confident, too — and receive the best possible level of care.
Nurses that feel more empowered and confident through research and EBP practice will ensure patients receive the care they need more efficiently and that their charges become more receptive to their nurses’ suggestions.
EBP does not necessarily produce maverick nurses. Rather, it broadens their skill sets and helps nursing staff think critically on their feet. As any experienced nurse would agree, this is advantageous.
Before adopting EBP, nurses undertaking study via an accelerated nursing degree, such as through Baylor University, will have opportunities to demonstrate their confidence. Modules run through Baylor will also help nurses dive deeper into research by teaching the necessary skills and knowledge.
Care plans are easy to tailor for each patient
Each patient will have individual needs, and even when dealing with common issues, each person responds differently to ailments and conditions. They could have other underlying issues and/or various other factors, for example, that will dictate the kind of care they need.
Being informed and up to date with studies and practice precedents will ensure nurses are more able to tailor care plans to each patient. They will be able to dissect preceding cases and outcomes and blend them with the unique needs of their charges.
In this regard, EBP is great at helping nurses who may struggle to build specific care plans from scratch. With prior knowledge of specific cases and treatments (and their outcomes), they can narrow down pathways and treatment options that might produce desirable results.
By being as informed as possible, nurses can make more confident and provably effective decisions using in-depth study. Beyond this, they can use personal experiences and patient appreciation to tailor evidence to individual cases.
Ultimately, EBP — while intensive in some cases — can help to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care and keep nurses feeling positive and confident in all that they do.