Research And Evidence-based Practice for Nurses

Nurses operate in a fast-paced environment where their choices often affect patients’ experiences as well as their health. Treatment outcomes are the result of many factors. Apart from doctors, the patient’s own decisions will play a role, as you need their commitment to treatment to achieve optimal outcomes. Luckily, an evidence-based approach to nursing has proven to greatly benefit the people in nurses’ care.

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What Is Evidence-based Nursing?

Evidence-based nursing provides the framework to move beyond simply following traditional methods of treating a condition or just continuing to implement what colleagues such as physicians ask nurses to do. With this approach, nurses continually seek out and advocate for better treatment methods. They align their actions during patient care with what evidence teaches them should lead to the best outcome.

To be clear, this is different from nursing research performed at academic institutions. Nurses can pursue evidence-based research while providing care at healthcare facilities. They are actually ideally positioned to do research and submit their findings, since they work so closely with the patients that need to benefit from their care.

To become a nurse in Maine or any other US state, consider enrolling in a Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at a reputable institution such as Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. Developed to allow those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, this program can be completed in as little as 15 months, allowing aspiring nurses to enter the field quickly while being fully prepared to take on this new role.

Benefits of an Evidence-based Nursing Approach

An evidence-based approach to nursing does require skill and effort. As a nurse you’ll need to collect and process research before you can implement or suggest treatment. However, it’s worth pursuing because when evidence-based nursing becomes the norm, patients, doctors and nurses can look forward to benefits like these:

Better Patient Outcomes

There is almost always room for improvement when it comes to healthcare treatments and patient care. Nurses can use experience gained through their daily interactions with patients and combine it with what they learn from research related to a patient’s condition. This can lead to improved outcomes for patients, such as:

Improves Patient Experience

Evidence-based nursing can result in a different treatment plan that has positive outcomes like fewer complications. Of course, this will affect the patient’s experience, as fewer setbacks and problems will affect their mental and physical wellbeing.

Often, nurses have the capacity to include patients in the process by discussing the research with them, explaining options and clarifying clinical jargon. This can help the patient feel more in control, which is beneficial to their mental health. Since a patient’s mental health often determines their ability to endure the physical challenges of a health condition, this can impact the overall treatment outcome.

Problem-solving Nurses

The process of research and analysis can train a nurse to assess all relevant data, consider it objectively and draw a conclusion based on the facts. In learning how to implement an evidence-based approach to patient care, nurses acquire new skills, such as:

These characteristics are especially valuable during an emergency or crisis, since the nurse will be more likely to make a decision that will benefit the patient, even if there isn’t a doctor available to consult with immediately.

Nurses may even be able to tailor care to meet a patient’s unique needs. Using research as the foundation for their decisions, they can determine which care options are most likely to have a good outcome in that specific scenario.

This can also alleviate some pressure on other staff members, as nurses can be trusted to handle certain situations. By allowing more autonomy for nurses who have proven themselves, health facilities’ workflows can improve, and more people can be assisted.

Nurses Are Up to Date on Best Practices

Today, the notion of evidence-based care is often associated with Florence Nightingale who used this approach to discover the reasons and solutions for health problems she witnessed. She advocated for nursing staff to keep up with the latest developments in the healthcare industry, so they can provide optimal care to their patients. Over a century later, it’s still clear how important this viewpoint is.

While performing research as part of evidence-based care, nurses will come across new terminology and learn of developments in the healthcare industry. Acquiring more knowledge about their field means they become more adept at understanding and implementing new best practices.

A common challenge for nurses is that other healthcare professionals include medical jargon in their communication about treatments or diagnoses. However, thanks to ongoing learning, even the latest terminology will be understood, so nurses can better understand what their superiors require. This reduces the risk of misunderstandings or the need for a nurse to first enquire, clarify or research before implementing treatment. It also empowers them to clarify concepts and jargon for patients, which further improves the patient experience.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, an evidence-based approach to nursing can be beneficial for both nurses and patients, but there are challenges. Nurses may not have control over all factors that determine their ability to implement evidence-based practices. For instance, a nurse’s workload will always be overwhelming, which leaves little time for research. Through self-study and additional training, the nurses of today can empower themselves for the benefit of patients, doctors and the overall industry.