Evidence-based practice (EBP) is defined as “a conscientious, problem-solving approach to clinical practice that incorporates the best evidence from well-designed studies, patient values and preferences, and a clinician’s expertise in making decisions about a patient’s care,” according to Nurse.com. The site adds, “Unfortunately, no standard formula exists for how much these factors should be weighed in the clinical decision-making process. However, there are a variety of rating systems and hierarchies of evidence that grade the strength or quality of evidence generated from a research study or report”.
Across the nation, nursing has seen a large push in recent years to implement evidence-based practice into everyday care. This may be a tall order with many changes rapidly occurring in the healthcare setting. However, backed by research with clearly documented results, this shift in healthcare culture aims to improve patient outcomes by putting best practices to use at the bedside.
Nurses can currently practice at several levels of educational preparedness from a diploma to a doctorate. In a fast paced and quickly changing field such as healthcare, it is imperative for healthcare providers at all levels to remain relevant in their knowledge of best practices.
Presently, continuing education is mandatory in many states for nurses to maintain active licensure. While this method provides information on a multitude of pertinent healthcare topics, nurses may still be missing out on many current best practices. This can be due to the overwhelming number of continuing education options available at any given time. Staying up to date on recent developments in practice can prove difficult for many in the profession, given the rapid pace of change.
When nurses choose to earn a bachelor’s degree, they gain access to clinically relevant information, research and resources. Healthcare providers who equip themselves with up-to-date resources for ongoing patient care can improve client outcomes. When faced with complex cases, well-educated nurses have relevant healthcare knowledge and critical thinking skills readily accessible — absolute must-haves, given that a patient’s status can deteriorate in a matter of seconds requiring nurses to think and act fast.
Having a wide array of clinical skills paired with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) can also increase satisfaction while on the job. This combination has the potential to translate to increased patient satisfaction, thereby improving client-based care and overall outcomes.
Complex Cases and Specialization
Longer lifespans can mean an increase in patients with comorbidities. Seeking a higher education can expand a nurse’s expertise to treat such conditions. For example, if a nurse has based her career in cardiac care, he or she may be more likely to complete continuing education credits that relate to that role. However, going back to school for a bachelor’s degree may spark interest in other areas, such as oncology, forensic nursing, genomics and more.
Healthcare providers with well-developed critical thinking skills can use their extensive knowledge to improve client outcomes and provide comprehensive care to all of their patients.
Better Research for Better Outcomes
The Center for Evidence-Based Management states, “The basic idea of evidence-based practice is that good-quality decisions should be based on a combination of critical thinking and the best available evidence.” Healthcare providers and institutions that commit to researching and utilizing evidence-based practice ultimately have the client’s best interests in mind.
Healthcare facilities can greatly improve patient outcomes by recruiting educated professionals skilled in the use of proven research and best practices.
Learn more about the Fitchburg State online RN to BS in Nursing program.