Evidence-Based Practice: From the Classroom to the Clinical Setting, a Mentoring Approach

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 8:30 AM

Elizabeth Roe, RN, PhD
Sally A. Decker, PhD, RN
Crystal M. Lange College of Health and Human Services, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, MI

Learning Objective 1: The learner will describe the use of a collaborative inquiry-based evidence-based practice approach linking academia and practice involving students and a faculty evidence-based practice mentor.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will identify outcomes of this collaborative inquiry-based evidence-based practice approach for both academia and the practice setting.

For twenty years, undergraduate nursing students at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) and nurses in local agencies have collaborated on Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) projects. These projects have resulted in changes in practice, having an impact on the nursing practice in the surrounding area. However, as has occurred elsewhere, the implementation of EBP in the clinical area has been slow. With this in mind, a faculty member from SVSU who has been involved in the course where these projects occurred served as an EBP mentor at one local hospital. In this role, she promoted EBP using an inquiry-based approach with the goal of improving the patient care.  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 and nurses at the agencies to consider the context including the culture, capacity, and infrastructure within the agencies all of which have been identified as important to the promotion of EBP. With the student projects, nurses in the agencies identify practice concerns that they would like summarized in a EBP presentation. The students formulate questions using the PICO format and collect information from a variety of sources and evaluate the evidence using an evidence rating system. The students then make practice recommendations to the nurses at the agency. With the EBP mentor, the same approach is used for the identification of the clinical problems, but the mentor also serves to help integrate the findings of both the student projects and the agency based projects into clinical practice. In addition, the role of the EBP mentor was able to take this a step further and help the nurses at the agency do their own EBP reviews and implement the EBP recommendations, including changes in policies.