Nursing is an art and a science. It is a delicate dance we do because we are passionate about getting a patient from a state of sickness to wellness. Evidence-Based Practice or EBP incorporates both the art and science of nursing. EBP is a solutions-based approach to delivering care that uses best-practice data and clinical expertise to provide patient care. The EBP process considers the patient's values and preferences that help ensure the plan will be effective. You may be utilizing EBP daily without knowing it. Still, I encourage you to continue reading so you can improve your practice and provide EBP in every aspect of your care.
1. Establish an Article Review Group
You may have noticed the word data in the description of EBP. The data used to treat patients comes from the literature. Suppose you work in a long-term care facility or on a specialized hospital unit. In that case, you need to know the latest research on how to care for your population.
This research will influence policies your facility uses to care for your patients. It may also affect the physician or nurse practitioner's plan of care for the patient. Therefore, you should know the latest research so that you are not caught off guard on the orders you are receiving. Being up to date with research became especially important during the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, orders were given for Plaquenil. Still, as research evolved now, many patients are receiving monoclonal antibody treatment. Establishing a monthly group to discuss the latest research articles can enhance the group's knowledge and improve patient care.
2. Where is the Research?
When looking for research, you want to use reputable sources. These sources are readily available online. Some are free, and some are paid. You need to use only reputable sources for your research. Therefore, doing a google search is not sufficient because the articles you may find are from the wrong source. Good sources are scholarly works done by journals, not opinion articles written by the New York Times and the like. Use google scholar, not a regular google search.
My favorite paid sources for research are UpToDate and Medscape. You can get discounts for organizations, and a student discount is available. UpToDate and Medscape does all the hard work for you. They compile the best research and put it in one location that is easy to access. Additionally, the information is easy to read. Reading research articles can be daunting and overwhelming with all the statistics used. I encourage you to try these paid options. They are also accessible on your smartphone.
I love free, don't you? Free options to find research are government-run organizations such as the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute for Health. Other websites have clinical guidelines for a specific disease, such as the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung disease https://goldcopd.org/ and the American Diabetic Association for diabetes information https://professional.diabetes.org/content-page/practice-guidelines-resources.
Suppose you are entering a new specialty and are unsure where to find the evidence to support how you are treating the patients in your care. In that case, you need to reach out to the education department, your manager, or your colleagues to find out where they get the data to support the treatment of these patients. I am excited for you to start new programs at your institution that support EBP. Happy researching!