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Evidence-Based Practice for Health Professionals

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  • 0:03 Evidence-Based Practice
  • 1:59 Healthcare Providers & EBP
  • 2:47 EBP & Patient Care
  • 3:47 Healthcare Without EBP
  • 4:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Emily Ketchel

Emily has taught nursing assistant students and has a bachelor's degree in Botany and Nursing.

Healthcare professionals treat their patients in the best way they know how. In this lesson, you will learn how evidence-based practice helps achieve that goal.

Evidence-Based Practice

Have you ever been stranded with a flat tire and wondered what steps you should take? This is something that happens seldom enough that people often fumble and the process takes longer than it should. What do you think you would do first? Would you lift the car off the ground? Or would you loosen the lug nuts so the tire doesn't spin?

For someone who changes tires frequently or professionally, they know that the process runs more smoothly and that there's less chance of injury by loosening the lug nuts before raising the car.

The same process is true for health professionals with a few minor tweaks. Much like the tire-changing professional, the healthcare professional knows the best way to care for his or her patients and, in effect, to increase the likelihood of producing their best outcomes. Health professionals base their care on evidence-based practice (EBP). Evidence-based practice is what providers use as the reasoning behind their treatments. It's the type of care healthcare providers prescribe. EBP is based on science, rather than traditional practices. It's the reason why a provider will choose a certain treatment over another one.

For example, long before EBP, a common way to treat a sick person was to bleed them. Bloodletting involved making a small incision in the person's arm or leg and letting it bleed. This practice lasted a long time because it was based on tradition. We now know through evidence-based practice there are better ways to treat an individual.

EBP comes from research that was verified by other professionals in that field and published in something known as peer-reviewed literature. It starts as a question, where someone thinks a care practice could be improved. From there, it's tested and the best results basically win. This research is then vetted and published.

After this research is published, patient-care practices or standards may change. Like a domino effect, EBP is built upon the previous practice. Techniques are improved, and both the provider and patient benefit.

Healthcare Providers & EBP

All types of health professionals use evidence-based practice. This might include providers such as nurses, doctors, therapists, and dentists. Most healthcare professionals stay up to date on current EBPs by reading journal articles, attending conferences, or taking classes. They use the information they learn to tailor the care they give their patients.

Also, because providers from similar fields learn about the same research findings, treatments tend to be similar. In other words, standards of care will be alike.

For example, suppose you go to the doctor's office after stepping on a rusty nail. You can expect that you will be getting a shot to prevent tetanus before leaving the appointment. This is because the standard of treatment after stepping on a rusty nail is to get a tetanus shot. This standard of treatment is based on evidence-based practices.

EBP & Patient Care

As patients, we want our healthcare professionals to be up-to-date on care practices. We want them to give us that shot if we step on a rusty nail.

Have you ever asked a provider why they choose a certain treatment? What did they say? They will probably have one reason or more why the treatment they chose for you is the best option.

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