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A Look at Evidence-based Practice in Use

Nurses examine evidence-based practice in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to understand how to utilize research to provide optimum care. An online RN to BSN program strengthens a nurse’s evaluation and clinical decision-making skills, which are critical to determining a proper course of action. Evidence-based practice is an essential component in nursing because of the rapid changes occurring in healthcare.

What Is Evidence-based Practice?

Nurses need to identify clinical problems and ensure that they are using the most up-to-date evidence in their nursing practice. Evidence-based practice is the use of research to inform nurses about the best intervention for an individual patient.

What Is the Evidence-based Process?

To carry out evidence-based practice, nurses need to pose a clinical question and look for research that pertains to their patient’s condition. The evidence-based process should follow these steps:

  1. Ask a clinical question.
  2. Collect relevant research.
  3. Critically appraise the evidence.
  4. Integrate the evidence with nursing expertise and the patient’s preferences and values to decide on an intervention or execute a change in practice.
  5. Evaluate the outcome.

What Are Some Examples of Evidence-based Practice Changes in Nursing?

For many years, traditional protocols have been followed in healthcare. But as new research emerges, protocols are altered. Here are some examples of changes made in healthcare due to evidence-based practice.

Diet for Sick Children

The BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) diet was suggested by pediatricians and nurses because it was believed that these foods allowed children with an upset stomach to rest their gut and reduce the amount of stool produced. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that children should resume eating a healthy diet within 24 hours of getting sick because the BRAT diet is low in fiber, protein and fat, and it lacks the nutrition a child’s gastrointestinal tract needs to overcome the illness.

Sleep Position for Babies

At one time, it was thought that babies should be placed on their stomach or side while sleeping. Today, nurses encourage parents to position babies on their back for sleeping to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In 20 years, the result of the recommendation is a 53 percent reduction in deaths from SIDS and sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).

Pain Assessment for Nonverbal Adult Patients

The common way to assess pain in nonverbal patients was to routinely check vital signs. Presently, evidence finds that the most effective way to establish the pain level of nonverbal patients is to use the hierarchy of pain assessment techniques. No one strategy is sufficient, so nurses should incorporate a number of techniques to assess pain. The techniques include attempting to communicate with the patient, observing the patient’s behavior to assess if they are experiencing pain, identifying potential causes of pain or obtaining information from family members.

Determining Gastrointestinal Mobility After Abdominal Surgery

Previously, nurses would listen to the sounds of a patient’s bowels to track their progress after surgery. Evidence-based practice shows that the return of flatus and a bowel movement are better indicators of healing.

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections

Nurses at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center researched evidence to conclude that early removal of urinary catheters reduces the number of days with the device and significantly lowers the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

High-quality patient care should be focused on research and scientific evidence as opposed to traditions, guesses, myths, advice or obsolete resource materials like old textbooks. Instead, they need to make sure that the interventions that they have always used are still acceptable or seek new protocols that can aid in their patient’s recovery. By incorporating evidence-based practice into nursing, outdated methods of patient care can be replaced with safer interventions that have a greater success rate.

Learn more about EIU’s online RN to BSN program.


HC Marketplace: Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing

WebMD: The BRAT Diet Best Practices for Assessing Pain

American Nurse Today: Good Night, Baby … Sleep Safely

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

American Nurse Today: Questioning Common Nursing Practices: What Does the Evidence Show?

American Journal of Infection Control: Reducing Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections: A Never Ending Story!

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