Why Evidence-Based Practice Is Vital to Improving Patient Care

Evidence-based practice in nursing helps transform patient care

Evidence-based practice (EBP) attempts to cover gaps in patient care for better outcomes and a healthier population by blending clinical experience and evidence. Further, it takes into account patient values to promote better patient experiences. Evidence-based research offers nurses a unique opportunity to expand their roles and transform patient care.

The principles of EBP first appeared formally in 1992 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The practice tries to bridge what the Institute of Medicine (IOM) once called a chasm between what is known and what is done in patient care. The IOM, renamed the National Academy of Medicine in July 2015, identified glaring shortcomings. Evidence-based practice can, and does, resolve these issues.

Defining Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based research involves collecting, evaluating and implementing evidence to improve patient care and outcomes. Clinicians rely on experience and expertise to evaluate research findings that can benefit patients. Evidence-based practice respects the patient’s unique situation, preferences and values. It is not a static model; rather, evidence-based practice continually incorporates updated research.

Benefits of Evidence-Based Practice to the Patient

The advantages of evidence-based practice include better patient outcomes, increased patient safety and improved quality of life. In the past, patients simply received healthcare. Today, patients are healthcare consumers. They demand improved treatments and increased safety. EBP strives to standardize practices, which can deliver more predictable outcomes.

The systematic approach of this type of practice and research can result in treatments with improved chances of success. The basis of this practice lies in research that provides reliable information about treatments. Analyzing this information in light of a patient’s situation can determine the likelihood of a positive result. Evidence-based practice’s patient-centered philosophy addresses the needs of the patient with the goal of more efficient, effective treatment.

Other benefits of EBP include decreased healthcare costs and reduced medical complications across a variety of clinical specialties. Evidence-based practice has even spread beyond medicine and nursing to psychology, education and other disciplines.

After the IOM identified problems in healthcare and patient results, the organization created a lofty goal: it recommends that by 2020 evidence should determine 90 percent of patient decisions. This recommendation illustrates the IOM’s belief in the value and patient-focused benefits of evidence-based practice.

The Nurse’s Role in the Future of Evidence-Based Practice

As demand increases for the improved outcomes of evidence-based practice, the need for more educated nurses will follow. This practice requires nurses to utilize critical thinking-, appraisal- and decision-making skills. Nurses must learn to efficiently analyze research to determine its relevance to a particular patient.

Online RN to BSN programs can give nurses the opportunity to develop these and other much-needed skills. The ability to evaluate the clinical evidence from quantitative and qualitative research is quickly becoming a sought-after skill. Further, nurses who combine research skills with practical experience can more successfully navigate clinical situations. Completing an online RN to BSN program can bring nurses the opportunity to further the principles of evidence-based practice and promote its adoption.

The benefits of EBP have prompted the American Nurses Association (ANA) to mirror the IOM’s recommendation. The ANA predicts that 90 percent of all nursing practices will use evidence-based practices and principles by 2020. An online RN to BSN program can help make this predication a reality and transform healthcare.

Learn more about the Colorado Mesa University online RN to BSN program.







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