A Story of Success: Teaching Evidence-Based Practice using an Inquiry-Based Approach

Wednesday, 15 July 2009: 3:45 PM

Elizabeth Roe, RN, PhD1
Sally A. Decker, PhD, RN1
Sue Garpiel, RN, C, MN, IBCLC2
1Crystal M. Lange College of Health and Human Services, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, MI
2Nursing, Covenant Healthcare, Saginaw, MI

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the use of inquiry-based learning for a evidence-based practice project.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will identify the applicability of the inquiry based learning approach for evidence based practice in a variety of settings, including international.

For twenty years, undergraduate nursing students at Saginaw Valley State University and nurses in local and international agencies have collaborated on projects which have changed from a research utilization to an Evidence Based Practice (EBP) approach as nursing’s understanding of critical thinking in clinical practice has evolved. Nursing students develop critical thinking, information literacy, and understanding of the types of evidence using an inquiry-based approach. An inquiry-based approach is related to critical thinking in that it makes visible how to engage in higher level information processing to guide practice. This approach requires the students to consider the culture, capacity, and infrastructure within the agencies, all which are important to EBP. It also requires consideration of the relevance and level of the information. A specific project utilizing an inquiry-based approach in an undergraduate communication and critical thinking course will be described. During the first step of the project, nurses in the agencies identify practice concerns. Next, the students formulate questions using the PICO format that allows them to find appropriate information in the literature while maintaining clinical relevance. They then collect and evaluate information from a wide variety of sources using an evidence rating system. Finally, the students make practice recommendations and get feedback from the agency nurses on fit to the setting, current practice, and feasibility. This inquiry-based approach helps students see the relevance of evidence to practice and communicate with the agencies. It has the advantage of helping agency nurses keep informed on the literature related to their intervention and helps them develop mentoring skills with the students. This project also increases communication between the University and health care agencies. In addition, it is clear from the student comments, presentations and documentation that they value the inquiry-based approach; a valuable approach to inform their nursing practice.