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Arkansas State University

Implementing Evidence-Based Practice for Nursing Leaders

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is more than a catchphrase; it is a growing mode for nurses everywhere. With an emphasis on research, nurse leaders expect their teams to have a shared understanding of how to communicate information and gain insights from both their experiences and new evidence that comes to light.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – General program equips professionals with the necessary EBP knowledge to excel in the field and improve healthcare practice.

EBP: Definition, Goals, Outcomes

According to an article by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), “EBP is defined … as the integration of clinical expertise, patient values and the best research evidence into the decision-making process for patient care.”

Nurses dedicate their practice to improving the health and quality of life in patients of all ages and backgrounds. When nurses implement this practice in the healthcare facility, they focus on providing individualized assessments for each patient. In order to do this, they take the information they already know about health and science and combine that with patient statements to uncover the cause of their health concern.

The AANP also describes that healthcare professionals “should target the triple aim in health care: improving the patient experience, improving population health outcomes and decreasing health care costs.” They added a fourth aim: “improving the work life of clinicians and their well-being.”

EBP holds nurses accountable for their patients, but it also emphasizes accountability from their colleagues on a daily basis. By using the best evidence available, EBP strategy breaks up the time needed to evaluate an individual and thus relieves some of the stress that comes with the work environment.

Although EBP has significantly improved the quality of treatment patients receive, many nursing schools are not effectively teaching students to start this process. Nursing educators must be more proactive in instructing future students how to evaluate patients with this method. Only then will they become better practitioners.

In a study by BMJ, nurses ultimately determined that “the provision of training for educators to aid the further development of skills and use of resources necessary for effective EBP teaching is recommended to seed it across their organization.”

Practical Applications in Healthcare Settings

Nurses initially learn to research specific illnesses or diseases to gain more knowledge about them. This contrasts with the research component of EBP because it relies solely on the evidence already accessible to them.

To follow the EBP protocol, nurses must find a balance between nurse research and the practice of EBP to conduct their patient care. According to the National Library of Medicine, “nursing science needs to encompass all manner of research, from discovery to translation, from bench to bedside, from mechanistic to holistic.”

This is where the use of practical applications in healthcare settings occurs — which further emphasizes the importance of a reimagined patient experience. Examples include the marketing of vaccines to the public. Many of these campaigns or projects are evaluated using evidence-based interventions by nurses. Their guidance influenced whether or not patients opted for the vaccine.

Patients have greater trust in providers when evidence is the basis for decisions, which applies to medication as well as procedures such as surgeries or screenings. It represents an action to help in the moment instead of waiting for research.

Further Your EBP Skills With a Doctorate Degree

While not every educational institution can deliver effective EBP training, options are available. One choice is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – General online program at Arkansas State University (A-State). Students in the program will expand their nursing expertise through hands-on internships and courses.

Students will strengthen their patient-centered nursing practice and positively impact healthcare policy. The accelerated nature of the program means students can gain access to leadership positions in as few as 12 months.

This intensive program allows all students to implement and evaluate the impact of quality improvement projects in a healthcare organization which, in turn, contributes to EBP. For example, the Translational Research for Doctor of Nursing Practice I & II courses focus on information and evidence-based practice outcomes to transform healthcare. In the Leadership, Policy, and Healthcare Systems course, students will analyze leadership and organizational theories to supplement their profession.

Each future nursing leader will obtain the knowledge required to prepare for a variety of healthcare leadership roles such as clinical directors and nursing directors.

Learn more about A-State’s Doctor of Nursing Practice – General online program.

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