Why We Can’t Live Without Evidence-Based Practice

In an RN to BSN program, students learn how to incorporate evidence-based practice (EBP) into patient care. Students gain an understanding of the importance of using research to make informed clinical decisions. Without the use of EBP in nursing, the health of patients may be compromised.

What Is EBP?

EBP is a problem-solving approach in medicine for clinical decision-making. EBP integrates the latest appropriate research and a patient’s preferences and values to determine the best course of action.

What Is the History of EBP?

The origin of EBP is traced to evidence-based medicine. Before the advent of evidence-based medicine, physicians based their treatments on information from medical textbooks (possibly outdated) or the “way things have always been done.”

Archie Cochrane introduced the idea of evidence-based medicine in 1972 when he proposed that healthcare methods should be tested by conducting randomized controlled studies. Once evidence from the research was documented and assessed, nurses and physicians could use it to decide on the best treatments.

Physician David Sackett, considered the father of evidence-based medicine (the precursor to EBP), explained the concept of evidence-based medicine in 1996 with the publication “Evidence Based Medicine: What It Is and What It Isnt” in The BMJ. He believed that looking at evidence was the best way to proceed with patient care. He also promoted clinical trials to find answers to medical problems.

How Does EBP Improve Patient Care?

EBP improves patient care because nurses use the most current scientific information to care for and treat individuals or communities. In addition, EBP uses data that matches a patient’s condition so nurses can pinpoint the ideal care strategies, thus increasing the rate of recovery. It’s not a one-size-fits-all protocol.

For example, research from the study “Early Ambulation Is Crucial for Improving Health” concludes that early mobility of hospitalized patients strengthens joints and muscles and is linked to shorter hospital stays.

The use of EBP has also resulted in updated protocols that reduce the following:

  • Alarm fatigue
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections
  • Intensive care unit (ICU) acquired delirium
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • Venous thromboembolism

How Does EBP Help Healthcare Providers?

EBP helps healthcare providers stay up to date on new technologies and procedures. Nurses and physicians can evaluate evidence to weigh the risks and benefits of certain diagnostic tests and treatments. With EBP, they can form a clear and decisive answer to a medical question.

How Does EBP Support the Four Aims of Healthcare?

EBP enables nurses and healthcare providers to meet the four aims of healthcare:

  1. Improve the patient experience
  2. Improve population health outcomes
  3. Decrease healthcare costs
  4. Improve the work life and well-being of nurses

Furthermore, EBP can cut costs and boost patient satisfaction as well as prevent burnout among nurses. EBP empowers nurses to take control and search for optimal solutions. It also fosters a collaborative, transparent environment that inspires accountability, all of which can enhance patient care and alleviate a nurse’s stress.

Moreover, EBP aids in nurse retention and engagement. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine has set a goal for continuing to improve health and healthcare. By 2020, the members of the roundtable want 90% of clinical decisions to be backed by “accurate, timely and up-to-date information.”

Learn more about Youngstown State University’s online RN to BSN program.


American Association of Nurse Practitioners: Why Choose Evidence-Based Practice?

CipherHealth: The Quadruple Aim in Healthcare

Evidence-Based Optometry: A Brief History of Evidence-Based Practice

The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing: The Impact of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and the Next Big Ideas

Lippincott Solutions: Moving From Triple to Quadruple Aim

NCBI: Leadership Commitments to Improve Value in Healthcare: Finding Common Ground: Workshop Summary

Nurse.com: Evidence-Based Practice in a Clinical Setting

NCBI: History and Development of Evidence-Based Medicine

The Globe and Mail: David Sackett: The Father of Evidence-Based Medicine

Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery: Archibald Cochrane (1909-1988): The Father of Evidence-Based Medicine

The BMJ: Evidence Based Medicine: What It Is and What It Isn’t

American Journal of Nursing: Early Ambulation Is Crucial for Improving Patient Health

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