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For More Information on Evidence-Based Practice


Evidence Based Nursing

Evidence Based Nursing

What is Evidence Based Medicine?

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research."

Sackett, David L, et al. "Evidence Based Medicine: What It Is and What It Isn't." BMJ 1996; 312: 71-72. Available:

Why Evidence Based Nursing?

Evidence-based nursing is one approach that may enable future healthcare providers to manage the explosion of new literature and technology and ultimately may result in improved patient outcomes.

Nursing students spend a great deal of preclinical preparation time designing care plans, reviewing pathophysiologic rationale, and memorizing pharmacologic interactions. Although these activities are useful, they cannot be the only methods of preparing students for nursing practice.

Sole reliance on textbooks and expert faculty knowledge does not promote the critical thinking skills that nurses must have to survive in the current fast paced clinical settings. Students must learn to develop independent, evidence-based methods of clinical decision making. Both medical and nursing professionals have explored this change in healthcare practice, research and knowledge development, a paradigm shift called "evidence based practice".

Evidence based practice (EBP) "involves an ability to access, summarize, and apply information from the literature to day-to-day clinical problems". Evidence based practice "requires an emphasis on systematic observation and experience and a reliance on the research literature to substantiate nursing decisions." Evidence based practice allows practitioners to meet a daily need for valid information about clinical situations.

Evidence based practice allows nurses enrich their clinical training and experience with up to date research. With the large amount of research and information that exists in the medical field, learning the skills of evidence based practice allows nurses to search for, assess, and apply the literature to their clinical situations.

Kessenich CR, "Teaching nursing students evidence-based nursing." Nurse Educator, Nov/Dec 1997, 22(6): 25-29.

Further Reading
Royal J, Blythe J. Promoting research utilisation in nursing: the role of the individual, organisation, and environment.
Evidence-Based Nursing July 1, 1998; 1(3): 71 - 72.

Excerpted with permission from the Health Sciences Library, University of North Carolina. For more information, see


Evidence-Based Medicine

Evidence-Based Medicine

In the 1990s, evidence-based medicine emerged as a way to improve and evaluate patient care. It involves combining the best research evidence with the patient's values to make decisions about medical care. Looking at all available medical studies and literature that pertain to an individual patient or a group of patients helps doctors to properly diagnose illnesses, to choose the best testing plan, and to select the best treatments and methods of disease prevention. Using evidence-based medicine techniques for large groups of patients with the same illness, doctors can develop practice guidelines for evaluation and treatment of particular conditions. In addition to improving treatment, such guidelines can help individual physicians and institutions measure their performance and identify areas for further study and improvement. The September 6, 2006, issue of JAMA is a theme issue about medical education and includes an article about evidence-based medicine.



Systematic reviews of the medical literature, large randomized controlled trials (the best way to assess the efficacy of a treatment), and large prospective studies (followed up over time) are types of research published in the medical literature that can be helpful in providing evidence about tests and treatments. Reports of the experiences of individual patients or small groups usually provide less reliable evidence, although they may provide important clues about possible adverse effects of treatments.

Torpy, Janet M., Lyn M. Cassio, and Richard M. Glass. "Evidence-Based Medicine." Excerpt. JAMA. 6 Sept. 2006. American Medical Association. 24 Mar. 2008 . 


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