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Why is Evidence Based Practice Important?

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  • 0:03 Moving Beyond Tradition
  • 1:04 What Is Evidence Based…
  • 2:10 Why Evidence Based Practice?
  • 3:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sheila Bouie
For many years, nursing care was guided solely by tradition. Today, nursing is guided by evidence-based practice, which uses a scientific approach to determine the best course of action for patients.

Moving Beyond Tradition

Ever wonder why Florence Nightingale is so important to nursing history? It is because she is considered the first nurse researcher, and ultimately shaped evidence-based practice.

Florence Nightingale was a wealthy, educated woman living in London when she volunteered to help the soldiers of the Crimean War in the mid-1850s. When she arrived at the barracks with her team of nurses, Nightingale found very unsanitary conditions. Nightingale went to work and changed how nursing care was delivered. She cleaned the barracks and offered proper meals and provided hygiene to the wounded soldiers.

Nightingale also took time to record all of the nursing care given to the soldiers and the results of that care. More soldiers lived as a result of her team's work! She had proof that the new way of delivering nursing care was making a difference. Nightingale and her team continued to use this evidence to deliver nursing care.

What Is Evidenced-Based Practice?

As Nightingale showed, nursing had to be more than just following traditions - and also more than just following physicians' orders. This led to evidence-based practice (sometimes called EBP), which is a problem-solving strategy for the delivery of safe, quality patient care. When nurses use evidence to deliver care, it takes into account the patient's wishes, the nurse's expertise, and current research to decide what the best course of action is for each patient.

To see what we mean by this, let's look at pain management as an illustration. Different cultures have different ideas of how to handle pain. A male patient from a certain cultural background might not ask for pain medication after a surgery, fearing that this might look like a sign of weakness. The nurse caring for this patient understands that controlling the pain helps to speed his recovery. Taking into account the patient's fears and the research on pain control after surgery, the nurse may develop a plan to offer pain medication without waiting for the patient to ask.

Why Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence-based practice is the science behind nursing practice. It's important because it helps promote better patient outcomes, or results of patient care.

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