Why Nurses Need to Use Evidence-Based Practice

Abstract

Evidence-based practice is necessary for the delivery of quality nursing care. The aim of this paper is to explain why nurses need to use evidence-based practice. Part A explains why evidence-based care is crucial in the nursing profession. Part B gives an explanation of why it is important to understand research methods in using evidence-based practice. Part C explains how Australian nurses are utilizing evidence-based practice in caring for patients with dementia. Finally, part D gives a summary of the whole paper.

Keywords: evidence-based practice, research methods, collaborative management, empathy, dementia

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Evidence-Based Practice and Global Health

Introduction

Evidence-based practice has become a critical part of the healthcare system, especially in the nursing profession. Nursing is a dynamic career that has changed a lot in the recent past. Various theorists have explained nursing as being both an art and science. As an art, nursing entails utilizing proper communication and building healthy interpersonal relationships to ensure improved patient outcomes. In the process, nurses understand that patients are people with concerns, fears, and needs. Significantly, nurses utilize the art aspect by connecting with patients through genuine interactions and a caring attitude. Apart from being an art, nursing is also a science. Nurses use patient-based nursing care plans to provide rational, scientific-based care.

Most importantly, they must know the disease mechanisms and medical management of different conditions, as well as how to interpret diagnostic findings to provide proper care to patients. Therefore, the science of nursing is a critical aspect in the delivery of health care. Considering both the art and science aspects, nurses need to be up-to-date with new procedures, practices, and policies. They must be able to investigate the current research to make proper decisions about patient care. This paper discusses why nurses need to utilize Evidence-Based Practice, why they should understand research methods, and finally, explains how nurses in Australia are using evidence-based practice in caring for patients with dementia.

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Part A

As nurses practice, they learn the dynamic nature of the profession and recognize the need to collaborate with allied healthcare providers. For instance, when caring for patients, they call nutritionists and physiotherapists to attend to malnutrition and contracture cases respectively. This has caused nurses to abandon some practices to be handled by other healthcare providers. However, with evidence-based practice, nurses can search for current information and make independent clinical decisions based on evidence (Stevens, 2013).

In addition, nurses can draw essential information from their clinical experience and the patient’s expectations. Consequently, nurses will be able to make a wide range of decisions in the healthcare system, and there will be improved patient outcomes (Stevens, 2013, p. 1). Moreover, the nursing profession will be respected, and it will have the potential for growth regarding research and practice.

One of the key areas that nurses can identify to appreciate the role of evidence-based practice is the prevention of communicable diseases. There has been extensive research concerning infectious disease prevention and control. Similarly, various healthcare systems globally have used recommendations from different studies to implement necessary interventions in the prevention of communicable diseases. For instance, immunization of people of all ages against life-threatening smallpox produced positive results. When the vaccine was identified and tested, remarkable progress was made during the vaccination until smallpox was eradicated (Homma, Possas, Menezes, & Risi, 2012).

At that time, the decision to vaccinate people after the invention of the vaccine was a depiction of evidence-based practice. Nurses, doctors, and other allied healthcare professionals had the clinical experience in vaccination, which they combined with the evidence from the invention of the vaccine to fight the disease. Similarly, nurses can use current and reliable research findings in the management of various diseases.

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Improvement of personal nursing information is another reason why nurses need to utilize evidence-based practice. The curriculum used to prepare nursing professionals is not enough to aid every individual nurse in the provision of safe and high-quality care (Stevens, 2013). For example, the knowledge of a nurse who learned the management of diabetes mellitus in 1985 is different from that of the nurse who learned the management of the same disease in the year 2000.

Furthermore, the two nurses differ from a nurse who is learning the management of the same disease in 2016. The latter nurse can have current information but lack the experience of the nurse who has been in practice since 1985. To manage nursing care efficiently, each practicing nurse needs to combine current research information with his or her experience (Majid et al. 2011). Information concerning the diagnostic tests and drug therapy changes over time and nurses must always be in tune with such information.

Moreover, education for nursing students should not just be theoretical, but practical and evidence-based. Consequently, nursing schools will produce competent nurses, and healthcare institutions will have nurses who can handle working with various conditions.

Evidence-based practice can also help in improving teamwork in the workplace. Robin and Bonnie (2010) identify the collaborative management of patients as one of the crucial components in improving patient outcomes. When multiple disciplines are involved in the care of patients, answers to complex patient problems are found, thus improving knowledge sharing and improving the delivery of care (Robin & Bonnie, 2010, p. 1). Nurses can get critical information from allied health professionals, verify it with current research, and use it in the management of patients.

Therefore, it is also paramount that the allied health professionals implement the EBP in their practice. Robin and Bonnie (2010) argue that the work of the evidence-based practice is to provide resources and training for all the health professionals involved in patient care, which enhances the translation of evidence into practice. Through this interdisciplinary EBP, nurses can build healthy relationships at the workplace that will immensely contribute to proper patient care.

Next, evidence-based practice helps nurses to deliver patient-centered care. Research studies have been conducted on social, cultural, spiritual, and economic aspects among others. Through reading and understanding these studies, nurses get to appreciate that their patients are not just medical conditions or numbers in hospitals, but human beings who need holistic care. Consequently, nurses can respect the preferences of patients and teach about the diseases affecting them. For instance, some patients may not like certain foods, and yet, they may be in need of advice on a balanced diet. It is within the jurisdiction of a nurse to teach a patient how to choose properly from a wide range of foods that they like.

Additionally, nurses can ensure the physical comfort of bedridden patients by helping them turn. Many research studies have attributed pressure ulcers to continuous pressure on the skin. It is this evidence that nurses apply to assure the patient’s comfort thereby promoting his or her recovery. Furthermore, nurses can use their advocacy role in helping patients to get appropriate care and adopting healthy lifestyles. In this regard, nurses report to doctors upon noticing the deterioration of the condition of a patient. Eventually, patients receive proper care because of the concern of a nurse. Similarly, they can carry out interventions that fall within their scope of practice to manage the condition of a patient.

Finally, nurses can provide patient-centered care by counseling. Various studies have concluded that counseling creates awareness and improves compliance with the medical interventions that patients receive. This evidence not only benefits a nurse to feel content in providing care but also helps a patient who is yearning to recover. Therefore, nurses need to utilize evidence-based practice in patient care.

Part B

Nurses need to understand research methods because research studies are the source of evidence in implementing evidence-based practice. Additionally, EBP uses academic language and research terminology that nurses must understand. Some topics in the healthcare system are best studied using qualitative methods, while others are better explained using quantitative methods. For instance, to explain why some HIV/AIDS patients do not comply with the drug regimen, qualitative methods are applied. Researchers can conduct either longitudinal or cross-sectional studies using qualitative methods such as phenomenology or case studies to make a conclusion about it too. Therefore, nurses must understand how research problems are identified, how samples are chosen, how various research methods are used for different topics, and how data is analyzed.

Through understanding research methods, nurses can critique research studies and ascertain their validity in the nursing practice (Ingham-Broomfield, 2014). Analyzing research studies requires that nurses possess in-depth knowledge of how the research process happens. For instance, the research problem should be in line with the research questions and designed to produce reliable results. If that is the case, the results will be true. Therefore, nurses should respect such knowledge and use it in nursing practice.

If nurses fail to understand how research methods apply to various research problems, they are likely to use unreliable evidence in clinical practice. Additionally, nurses must have the ability to identify peer-reviewed studies from accredited sources and use them in their delivery of care. The ability to understand and critically analyze research shows that nurses are accountable to their profession (Ingham-Broomfield, 2014, p. 103).

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Part C

Dementia is a rarely explored disease in regard to evidence-based practice in nursing. It occurs commonly in seniors when memory declines and the personality of a person changes. In the clinical setting, nurses are required to show compassion and empathy to patients suffering from dementia. This section looks at how nurses in Australia use evidence-based practice to care for patients with dementia.

Digby and Lee (2016) recognize that empathy is an essential attribute in caring for people with dementia, but it has not been explored. Therefore, they sought to understand how nurses in Australia provide empathetic care to patients. Nurses in Australia recognize that it is impossible to deliver nursing care appropriate to patients without showing them empathy. Given that nursing includes some extent of compassion and kindness, empathy is an essential virtue. From the literature review, nurses understand that if empathy is lacking in caring for people with dementia, it is impossible to create rapport with the patient and deliver patient-centered care. Therefore, nurses create an environment where patients feel understood and accepted by demonstrating kindness and warmth (Digby & Lee, 2016, p. 53).

When patients with dementia come to hospitals and they feel misunderstood, they are likely to feel isolated. Thus, nurses deliver compassionate care, responding to the needs of patients with humanity, attending to their other problems if they have any, and relieving their distress. Most importantly, nurses do not just understand the suffering of a patient, they respond to it.

Moreover, research shows that nurses should maintain emotional separation (Digby & Lee, 2016, p. 53). Therefore, nurses in Australia work with patients, maintaining a degree of detachment to make their concerns about patients evident. Nurses know that when they stay detached, they maintain objectivity, and they do not experience burnout. Furthermore, nurses understand that caring for such patients can render them emotionally vulnerable, and the patients might not receive proper care from them. Consequently, they balance between detachment and engagement while delivering care to such patients.

Given that dementia has no effective treatment and prevention strategy, nurses understand that quality nursing management is crucial in dealing with patients with dementia. Therefore, building therapeutic relationships is another important aspect of the care of these patients. Additionally, nurses know that the hospital environment can be hostile to patients suffering from dementia. The unfamiliar environment may exacerbate dementia and anxiety which may make the care of the patient more challenging (Digby & Lee, 2016, p. 54). Moreover, many people with dementia behave in a way that may make it difficult for them to cope with other people. Thus, nurses have to ensure patient comfort by providing a peaceful environment.

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Part D

Evidence-based practice is crucial in nursing practice. Keeping in mind that nursing is both an art and science, nurses need to be up-to-date with the information concerning the development of healthy relationships with patients and the management of diseases. The information they apply in nursing care should be geared towards improving patient outcomes and the nursing profession. Additionally, the information needs to come from accredited sources. This information has various benefits for nurses, patients, and other healthcare professionals.

For instance, evidence-based practice improves collaborative management, is crucial in the treatment and prevention of diseases, and enhances the knowledge of nurses. Additionally, nurses focus on patient-centered care and appreciate the social, cultural, and spiritual values of patients. To use evidence-based practice effectively, nurses must understand the research methods. It is difficult for nurses to know which information to apply in the nursing practice if they do not understand the effectiveness of the research methods in various nursing problems.

Therefore, they need to analyze research studies and verify that the research designs employed in such studies are effective for coming up with valid conclusions. Through that, nurses will be able to apply evidence-based practice efficiently like in the case of Australian nurses who use empathy in the nursing management of dementia.

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