Abstract

Evidence-based practice has gained massive relevance in the field of nursing because of the need for accountability and efficiency among the nurses. The increasing demand for healthcare services in the global society has created a situation where nurses are no longer mere assistants to doctors. There are cases where nurses are always expected to make major decisions when handling patients, while the doctors are not available. Their decisions should always be based upon some evidence, which will affirm that they are doing the right thing. The evidence-based practice offers them the opportunity to make decisions that would help save the lives of patients under their care. For this reason, many nurses in the United States and various parts of the world have found it important to use evidence-based practice in their professional work.

Introduction

Research is one of the important ways of advancing the field of nursing. According to Hoffmann, Bennett, and Del (2009), nursing is a very dynamic field that requires regular research to understand some of the forces that affect this field. Evidence-Based practice has gained popularity as nurses are faced with a new problem of having to make critical decisions when the doctors are not available. Cases where nurses are faced with serious incidents that require immediate decisions are becoming common today.

An example would be a case where a patient develops serious complications at odd hours when the doctors are away. A nurse would need to make a major decision to save the life of such a patient. Evidence-based practice is always very important during such cases. When making decisions, the nurses will need evidence that the decision made would be the best alternative that would help spare the life of a patient. According to Beinecke (2005), “Evidence-based practice entails making decisions about how to promote health or provide care by integrating the best available evidence with practitioner expertise and other resources” (p. 57). It does not only help in creating accountability among the nurses, but it also creates an environment where decisions are based on solid evidence when dealing with patients. Nurses should understand the relevance of empirically supported treatments, especially when handling patients in delicate situations. This will help the nurses make the right decisions, especially when dealing with delicate situations.

Evidence-based Practice

According to Drisko and Grady (2012), nurses play an important role in the health sector. In the past, they were seen as assistants to the doctors and heavily relied on the instructions from the medical doctors in charge. However, this is slowly changing, and nurses are finding themselves in situations where they have to make independent decisions without direct guidance from the doctors. The patients always spend more time with nurses than with doctors. This means that the nurses are always close enough to attend to some of their urgent needs.

In some cases, the need of the patient may require a major decision to be made to spare the life of the patient. When the relevant doctor is not reachable, it will be upon the nurse to make this major decision that would determine whether or not the patient would survive. When making such decisions, it is always important to use an approach that has worked before successfully other than using trial and error methods.

Human life is very precious, and medical practitioners cannot afford to engage in experimental practices that have not been confirmed to be effective. Evidence-based treatment will be of high value for a nurse who is forced to make such a delicate decision to protect the life of a patient. It is because of this fact that evidence-based practice has been seen as an important concept that should be embraced by the nurses to ensure that their actions are guided by facts. This will eliminate cases where patients die or sustain serious injuries because of experimental decisions made by the nurses. As Adily and Ward (2004) note, the nurses will make an effort to ensure that their decisions are guided by some evidence as a way of maintaining accountability. This concept will improve the quality of the service they deliver to the patients.

Research Methods

According to Houser and Oman (2011), nursing is a very dynamic field because of the numerous changes that take place in the field of health. There is a growing pressure on the health practitioners to deal with some of the leading killer diseases such as AIDs, Cancer, and Diabetes. Other new diseases, such as Ebola are also posing a serious threat to people across the world. A disease like Ebola poses serious threats even to the nurses when offering care to the affected patients. The growing number of patients in most of the healthcare institutions around the world is another big concern that nurses must deal within the current society. Nurses are under intense pressure to maintain professionalism and to offer quality care despite the pressure. The only way of addressing these problems successfully is by embracing the evidence-based practice in the field of nursing. All these problems can be solved by having a clear pattern on how the nurses should handle each situation when the need arises. The evidence-based practice embraces the use of evidence from past practical cases.

Nurses need to understand the research methods to implement evidence-based practice. The evidence needed by the nurses must be generated to be availed for application. According to Poe and White (2010), the only way of generating evidence is by conducting successful research regularly on some of the contemporary issues that nurses have to deal with such as the ever-expanding role of a nurse. As mentioned above, nurses currently find themselves in situations where they have to make major decisions. This means that they need to have the relevant information about what they are expected to do. To access this information, they have to engage in effective research regularly.

The nurses must understand the kind of pressure they have to deal with, and how they can be addressed based on some practical evidence. Understanding how to conduct an effective research is a key way of collecting evidence that will guide their practice. The nurses need to collect the primary data from sources such as the medical doctors and other nurses who have been faced with situations they have to deal with currently. They will also need to gather data from the secondary sources to develop a report that would form the basis of the evidence. This means that other than knowing to collect the primary and secondary sources of data, they must also be in a position to compile a report based on the data and draw conclusions that would enhance the application of the information. This can only be achieved if the nurses understand the research methods. For this reason, nurses need to understand research methods to be able to use evidence-based practice.

Utilization of evidence-based practice by nurses around the world

According to Beinecke (2005), nurses in the United Kingdom have embraced the evidence-based practice as a way of enhancing the quality of their service delivery. According to this article, there has been rising pressure on the medical facilities, and among the nurses in this country following an increase in the number of people seeking medical care. The aging population in this country is also on the rise, making the demand for the nurses to remain high. The government, through the ministry of health, has strict policies on people who are willing to practice nursing within the United Kingdom. This has made it even more challenging for the problem of the shortage of nurses to be solved. For the few who are already practicing nursing in the country, there is a need to maintain the high quality of services to their clients.

The laws governing the nursing practice in the country is very strict, and any act of negligence or ignorance by a nurse that results in substantial harm on the patient can lead to litigations. This means that the nurses must always act with due diligence, and ensure that the service they deliver to their clients is based on evidence that can support them even beyond the medical realm. These nurses have found the evidence-based practice to be a vital tool that cannot be ignored because it offers a basis upon which their decisions are made. This journal article notes that although it took time for the nurses in this country to access the evidence-based practice as an important instrument, they have come to appreciate its relevance in enhancing the quality of their services. Nurses in this country know that they have to be responsible for their actions when acting on their official capacity, and for this reason, they need to base their decisions on some form of evidence that would enhance the quality of their services.

Conclusion

Evidence-based practice has gained popularity among nurses in various countries around the world in the recent past. The role of nurses is slowly evolving from that of a mere assistant to that of an important decision-maker within the healthcare institutions. Nurses are finding themselves in situations where they need to make important decisions that would define if a patient would live or not. This means that they must have the right knowledge when making such delicate decisions. They must base their decisions on some evidence that proves that the action has the capacity of achieving the desired results without exposing the patient to unnecessary danger or the hospital to unnecessary expenses. Evidence-based practice has proven to be the best way through which these nurses can access the relevant information through which their decisions can be made. It is important to understand that for the nurses to use the concept of evidence-based practice effectively. They need to understand the research methods.

References

Adily, A. & Ward J. (2004). Evidence Based Practice in Population Health: A Regional Survey to Inform Workforce Development and Organizational Change. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 58(6), 455-460.

Beinecke,R. (2005). Implementation of Evidence-Based Mental Health Practice in England. International Journal of Mental Health, 33(4), 64-79.

Drisko, J. W., & Grady, M. D. (2012). Evidence-based practice in clinical social work. New York: Springer.

Hoffmann, T., Bennett, S., & Del, M. C. (2009). Evidence-based practice across the health professions. Chatswood: Elsevier Australia.

Houser, J., & Oman, K. S. (2011). Evidence-based practice: An implementation guide for healthcare organizations. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Poe, S. & White, K. M. (2010). Johns Hopkins nursing evidence-based practice: Implementation and translation. Indianapolis: Sigma Theta Tau International.

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