Evidence-Based Nursing for Nurse Consumers and Generators

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 11:05 AM

Lois S. Marshall, PhD
Nurse Education Consultant, Self Employed, Miami, FL, USA

In the current health care environment, the expectation for evidence-based practice and/or evidence nursing is apparent in diverse practice settings, academic settings, research, administration, as well as written about in articles, reports, and proceedings. The view of many in health care is that all nurses and practitioners should practice in an evidence-based manner, but for many nurses and other health care providers a knowledge deficit exists as to the real meaning and scope behind evidence-based practice.

Many nurses and health care professionals were never educated as to what evidence-based nursing and/or practice is, nor do they know how to work within that type of system. Many nurses were educated prior to evidence-based models and practices coming into the forefront of health care. Many nurses do not think that they possess the technological and/or research skill set to practice in an evidence-based environment. Many nurses do not understand where they “fit in” to the evidence-based practice world. Even if nurses understand the need to managing patients based on data or evidence rather than simply “because that is the way we have always done it,” they don’t fully understand their role in such a practice nor the scope of what they need to know and already know to accomplish an evidence-based outcome in practice.

Often, when nurses discover that their “practice” environment is moving towards evidence-based practice, the notion that they will have to conduct research as part of their responsibilities concerns them. They don’t see how they can function in this type of practice setting, much less survive. Most nurses do not realize that each and every day they practice as CONSUMERS of evidence-based nursing (Marshall, 2015). Nurses read about the most effective or “best” practices to determine care they are implementing with their patients/families/communities. Nurses learn about different approaches and techniques based on evidence through reading professional journals and/or attending professional or continuing education conferences. Nurses consume evidence daily in their “practices.” Nurses may not associate what they are doing each day with consuming evidence, but in fact they are doing just that.

Nurses can also be GENERATORS of evidence-based nursing. Evidence-based nurse generators are nurses who conduct and evaluate their own research studies (Marshall, 2015). Nurses who generate research can start from “scratch” to develop a research study, conduct it as such and evaluate it with recommendations for “practice”, or they can replicate a study on different or diverse populations or with the addition/deletion of certain variables or changes in the overall environment.

Today’s professional nurse must not shy away from being a consumer and/or a generator of evidence as the health care environment moves more rapidly in this direction. Nurses begin collecting evidence/data the minute they assess their patients each and every day. What comes next is based on the context in which nurses’ practice, their comfort with reading or consuming evidence, and their abilities and willingness to generate evidence-based research.

The key to fostering the continued development of evidence-based nurse consumers and generators is to make sure that nurses, no matter when they were educated or in what type of nursing program they were educated in, have the foundational skill-set to participate in evidence-based environments.

The purpose of this presentation is to advance the nurse’s understanding of evidence-based practice with a unique perspective that of being a consumer and/or generator of evidence (Marshall, 2015). Distinctions will be made with regards to the role expectations and scope of practice within each category, as well as processes for implementing the roles successfully and evaluating the results. While there are many evidence-based nursing models that have been written about and utilized in the health care arena, it is essential that all nurses find their “niche” in the evidence-based practice environment. This unique approach allows nurses to find where they can best make their impact to evidence-based nursing practice.