Why Evidence-Based Practice?

The nursing profession is constantly evolving due to technological developments and cutting-edge research. Advances in scientific study have dispelled certain practices as unnecessary or harmful to patients, and technology has provided nurses with useful data and information that they can apply to nursing. Nurses are prepared in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs to implement evidence-based practice (EBP) in all healthcare settings.

What Is EBP?

EBP centers on nurses using the best evidence in the delivery of care to improve patient outcomes. Once nurses assess research, clinical guidelines and other resources, they can apply the findings to their practice. This problem-solving approach to clinical practice is determined by these three components:

  1. Research – Asking a question and searching for the most relevant evidence to pinpoint an answer.
  2. Clinical expertise – Incorporating the nurse’s knowledge.
  3. Patient preference – Considering a patient’s beliefs, values and cultural background.

What Kind of Research Do Nurses Use in EBP Nursing?

Typically, EBP involves integrating three types of evidence. Nurses should not make a clinical decision based on one research study. Instead, they need to conduct a thorough investigation consisting of the following:

  • Systematic reviews.
  • Randomized control trials.
  • Clinical practice guidelines that support a change in procedures.
  • Results from a healthcare organization’s quality improvement projects.
  • Patient experiences and medical history.
  • Nurses’ clinical preparation and decision-making skills.

Why Is EBP Critical to Nursing?

Studies such as Promoting Evidence-Based Practice Through a Research Training Program for Point-of-Care Clinicians and The State of Evidence-Based Practice in US Nurses: Critical Implications for Nurse Leaders and Educators affirm the view that EBP improves the quality of care and patient outcomes as well as reduces costs.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), renamed the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2015, published Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century in March 2001. In the report, the IOM recommends that decision-making should be evidence-based.

How Has EBP Changed Nursing?

EBP increases effectiveness, efficiency and safety by eliminating obsolete practices. Here are a few examples of how EBP has replaced outdated methods.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends returning children to a well-balanced diet as soon as possible after suffering from gastrointestinal upset. In the past, the AAP endorsed a diet of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
  • Aspirin is no longer given to children to control fever because of the increased possibility of Reye’s syndrome.
  • Patients are at risk for skin breakdown when they are immobile. The common practice was to turn bedridden patients every two hours. Now the timing for turning patients depends upon their condition and susceptibility for pressure sores.

Why Is EBP Taught in Online RN to BSN Programs?

Learning about EBP strategies and how to integrate them into nursing is crucial for nurses. Nurses need to be prepared to provide patient-centered care using current evidence for best practices.

Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) can broaden their clinical knowledge and advance in their nursing career by completing an affordable, online RN to BSN program. The bridge program allows nurses the flexibility to continue working while pursuing a BSN. Most online programs include instruction about EBP.

Fitchburg State University offers an online RN to BS in Nursing program. Students in the accredited program take a course titled Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing. They learn the concepts of EBP and how to apply it in the nursing profession. Additionally, students examine the research process and how to combine it with clinical judgment and patient preferences to provide safe care and optimal outcomes.

EBP ensures consistent clinical care for patients. By embracing EBP in the nursing profession, nurses are able to decrease the amount of errors and guarantee that patients are receiving the latest updates in healthcare. Nurses are also part of the growth of EBP. They can contribute to research by approving treatments and procedures that are successful and discarding ineffectual applications. Thus, nurses are essential to the promotion and utilization of EBP in nursing.

Learn more about the Fitchburg State online RN to BS in Nursing program.


Journal of Nursing Administration: Promoting Evidence-Based Practice Through a Research Training Program for Point-of-Care Clinicians

The Nest: What Are The Benefits of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing?

Institute of Medicine: Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses: Evidence-Based Practice

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: Creating a Culture of Evidence-Based Practice: A Journey from Vision to Outcomes

Reflections of Nursing Leadership: Improving Healthcare Quality, Patient Outcomes, and Costs with Evidence-Based Practice

Journal of Nursing Administration: The State of Evidence-Based Practice in US Nurses: Critical Implications for Nurse Leaders and Educators

Nurse.com: Why Evidence-Based Practice Matters to Students

The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing: The Impact of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and the Next Big Ideas

NursingCenter.com: Understanding Evidence-Based Practice

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