INSPIRING CHANGE: Best practices in postoperative feeding
Anne K. Eby MN, APRN, FNP-C, ONC

June 2012 
Volume 42  Number 6
Pages 20 - 22
  PDF Version Available!

IN CLINICAL PRACTICE, evidence-based nursing, also called evidence-based practice (EBP), means basing your interventions on the best available research and on patient preferences. At our facility, we have a nursing research and EBP committee made up of nurses from the education department, various inpatient units, specialty teams, and one NP (the author). After receiving questions from nursing units and the nurse practice council, we search the available literature to determine best-practice recommendations. We then share our findings with the unit manager or nurse practice council.This article describes how we sought to evaluate the current evidence about postoperative feeding practices to help nurses make informed decisions that improve patient outcomes.Several models or frameworks can guide EBP, including the Conduct and Utilization of Research in Nursing model, the Iowa Model of EBP to Promote Quality Care, and the Johns Hopkins Nursing EBP model. Although these models differ slightly in their approach, each is designed to help translate research into practice.In the Iowa Model of EBP, the model we chose, the first step is to identify the trigger, which may be a problem- or knowledge-focused issue that initiates a needed change.1 In our case, the problem-based trigger was identified by the nursing staff of one of our surgical units who'd noticed changes in practice related to postoperative oral feeding. To learn more about best practices, we decided to examine the clinical problem of postoperative oral feeding practices. We generally waited 24 hours after surgery to offer patients solid food, but we waited longer in some cases, such as after surgeries in which the gut was manipulated.We also needed to consider the clinical relevance of the EBP problem.1 Staff nurses frequently had questions about best practices in postoperative feeding, and the question was subsequently presented to the EBP committee. We found the question clinically relevant because questions about

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