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What Does Evidence-Based Practice Really Mean in Nursing?

Nursing practice relies on accurate, proven procedures. Healthcare providers, patients and their families all need orderly principles and information. Evidence-based practice in nursing successfully fills this need.

What Is Evidence-Based Practice?

As its name implies, evidence-based practice (EBP) involves incorporating up-to-date evidence into medical decisions and patient care. EBP relies on solid research, clear guidelines for patient care and other forms of reliable information. It also takes into account patients’ values and preferences as well as nurses’ clinical experience. Evidence-based practice is a highly practical and reliable approach to clinical care.

Real-World Applications of EBP

EBP in the clinical setting follows strict guidelines and procedures, and the results are tangible. One example of EBP involves infection control; nurses adhere to certain essential standards to keep the healthcare setting clean to prevent infections — based on the results of a number of studies.

EBP also adheres to guidelines for intravenous (IV) catheter size and blood administration for transfusions. Nurses need to measure children’s blood pressure differently than they do adults’ blood pressure, and EBP regularly updates the best ways to do that safely, noninvasively and effectively.

Research has also revealed new ways to give oxygen to patients who have COPD, and adherents of evidence-based practice improve patient outcomes by studying this research and adjusting the care they deliver.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of evidence-based practice in nursing. Nurses typically get the chance to implement EBP when they work in team environments with other healthcare professionals on a daily basis.

Why This Is Important?

Clinical care relies on the latest research, and EBP makes that possible. EBP is becoming more prevalent in nursing and in the larger healthcare world, so it is likely to become standard. As such, nurses at all levels need to understand the practice and know how to put it to use. An accredited RN to BSN online program offers extensive training in evidence-based practice.

Practices change quickly in healthcare. Ongoing research continually updates the medical knowledge base, so the “E” in EBP can be a moving target. Staying apprised of the latest research helps nurses provide better, more effective care with each passing day.

Learn more about the Columbus State online RN to BSN program.


Evidence-Based Practice. (n.d.). Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses

Stevens, K. The Impact of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and the Next Big Ideas. (2013, May). The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Evidence Based Practice Toolkit for Nursing: What is EBP? (n.d.). OHSU Library

Majid, S., Foo, S., Luyt, B., Zhang, X., Theng, Y., Chang, Y., & Mokhtar, I. A. (2011). Adopting evidence-based practice in clinical decision making: Nurses’ perceptions, knowledge, and barriers. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

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