Evidence-based practice in nursing focus on the enabling nurses to integrate the vast literature as well as technology into their daily practice with a view to improving health care quality and subsequently the patient outcomes. It is a process that incorporates nursing practice, nursing theory and empirical evidence into a single entity focused on improving the overall quality of health care. This implies that the nurse, the patient and the nursing research agencies all have a hand to play in this case. With such a common approach, then there is a higher possibility of care improvement.
As Scott & McSherry (2009) assert, evidence-based nursing is “An ongoing process by which evidence, nursing theory and the practitioners’ clinical expertise is critically evaluated and considered, in conjunction with patient involvement, to provide delivery of optimum nursing care for the individual”. In essence, evidence-based nursing is not a single instance event but a continuous process whose development is controlled by the emergence of new literature as well as technologies. It is a matter of weighing the benefits and risks associated with an emerging literature or technology, and applying the most viable recommendations into practice.
The three components of evidence-based nursing, that is, research, theory and practice can be described as a series of phases that all play a hand in the patient outcome. Evidence-based nursing focuses more on the patient as centre of concern. Thus, where patient outcome is not improved, the purpose of Evidence based nursing is overlooked. Research studies, are based on the current events or past results. From this, the researchers then use the results analysis to develop theories. The theories are then applied into practice to determine their efficacy. Thus, one of the major benefits of evidence-base nursing is that all developed theories that have proved to work elsewhere are evaluated through application on real time environment.
For baccalaureate students in nursing, evidence-based is a necessity as they look to go into practice. With the new alignments in education to suit the development of evidence-based nursing, students can rely on recent literature, using it to develop theories and models that are patient-focused and ensure a transformation of the current practices to suit patient needs. As Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing (2011) describe “evidence-based practice should be a problem-solving approach to clinical practice that integrates a systematic search for, and critical appraisal of, the most relevant evidence to answer a burning clinical question.” Thus, the student being at the base of a vast literature and technological development should look into the nursing practice and seek for a problem. They can then use this problem as the springboard upon which they can formulate models and theories that can combat such a problem to improve patient outcome.
Thus, it is an issue that requires a redesign of the curriculum to suit problem solving approaches for students rather than just acquisition of theoretical knowledge on nursing. The Care Quality Commission (2010) describes the whole process as “The responsibility of higher education institutions, hospital trusts and primary care trusts is to ensure that, through education, standards are developed and maintained by health professionals”. It should thus begin from class and develop into practice.
Care Quality Commission (2010). Guidance about Compliance: Essential Standards of Quality and Safety..
Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, A., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, & Institute of Medicine (U.S.) (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
Scott, K., & McSherry, R. (2009). Evidence Based Nursing: clarifying the concepts for