Disseminating Evidence in Nursing

Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

To stay abreast of best practices in their field, nurses are encouraged to research, analyze, and present new evidence-based findings to patients or others in their field. Learn what dissemination of evidence in nursing is, as well as its goals, methods, and barriers in this lesson.

What Is Disseminating Evidence in Nursing?

The internet brought with it a wide dissemination of information. Information that people once had to open an encyclopedia or visit a public library to obtain became readily available and only a click away. Dissemination is the act of spreading or sharing information to others.

For example, in 1984, Congress passed the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act. This bill increased warnings about the dangers and harmful effects of smoking to the general public, especially highly-impressionable adolescents. The United States government was attempting to disseminate evidence in order to educate the public and significantly decrease cigarette smoking.

Disseminating evidence in nursing is the spreading of evidence-based nursing knowledge, research, and findings by nurses to other health care professionals or to the general public. This is vital for the nursing profession because when nurses stay abreast of new evidence in their field, they can spread that information to others to ensure that the highest quality and most effective care is being delivered to patients.

Goals of Disseminating Evidence in Nursing

In order for dissemination of evidence in nursing to be effective and achieve its goals, it must be high-quality evidence that has been meticulously evaluated in clinical research studies and proven time and again to be valid and effective in the nursing field.

Five goals of disseminating evidence in nursing are:

  1. To increase the scope of knowledge in the nursing field.
  2. To ensure the nursing field remains up-to-date with the latest and most effective evidence and practices.
  3. To ascertain that nursing decisions are made based on evidence that optimizes quality care and cost-effectiveness.
  4. To increase motivation for nurses to apply evidence-based strategies with their patients.
  5. To increase patient motivation to utilize and follow through on evidence-based interventions that will help with their own healthcare.

Methods of Disseminating Evidence in Nursing

Nurses are often very busy at their patients' bedsides. Some nurses feel like the don't have the time to evaluate new research and evidence in their field, much less disseminate it to others. For nurses who make the time for dissemination of evidence in their fields, this section will describe how they can go about doing this.

First nurses need to acquire the evidence in order to disseminate it. They can do this by reading books, academic articles, and journals. They can even conduct research studies of their own, which requires a specific skill set and knowledge of experimental research.

The Three Questions

Nurses can ask themselves three questions to be sure that the evidence that they find is effective to use. The ability to determine if evidence is trustworthy, valuable, and of high-quality is called critical appraisal. The three questions are:

  1. Is the evidence of good quality?
  2. Would the findings apply in the proposed setting? Are the subjects in the study similar to the patients under the nurse's care, for example?
  3. What are the consequences of the evidence for patients or clients? In other words, what would implementation of practice techniques in the evidence mean for patients or clients? What would be the pros and cons?

Ways to Disseminate Evidence

Once a nurse has decided that the evidence is of good quality and applicable and meaningful to use, he or she can begin the process of dissemination of evidence. There are many platforms through which nurses can disseminate evidence:

  • Social media
  • Brochures
  • Journals
  • Web sites
  • Presentations
  • Conferences
  • Press releases
  • Nurse team meetings

For example, nurses in a hospital cardiac department who meet once a week for a team meeting might schedule a half hour every other team meeting to talk about the latest evidence in the nursing field.

Nurse managers can promote dissemination of evidence with their nurses by establishing a reward for the nurse who contributes most to her colleagues, patients, and the field of nursing through dissemination of evidence.

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