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International Nurses Day is May 12, a designation by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) honoring the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birthday, which corresponds with the end of National Nurses Week in the United States. The theme for this year's celebration is, "Closing the gap: From evidence to action." ICN illustrates the theme with a multicolored puzzle of four interlocking pieces labeled from the top left corner and going clockwise: Understanding evidence-based practice, Sources of evidence, From evidence to action, and Making the case for change.1
ICN assembled a comprehensive and concise explanation of EBP in a toolkit for nurses to use individually or in group activities. The toolkit includes definitions and step-by-step guidance through the process as well as a special appeal to national nurses associations (NNAs) to lead efforts to implement EBP. ICN states, "Stronger emphasis needs to be placed not just on the discovery of new products, drugs, and diagnostics but on how we put knowledge into use; on how we close the gap between evidence and action."1 Although ICN specifically addresses nursing, statements throughout the publication are relevant for all healthcare providers, either directly or indirectly. The toolkit has several appendices that offer additional information and skill building exercises.
Embracing the paradigm of EBP, nurses are responsible for learning the EBP process, and how to identify a problem, ask a clinical question, search the literature, critically appraise the research, and select the best available evidence. The use of evidence informs actions. The nurse must also consider the needs and preferences of patients coupled with his or her own expertise, skills, and clinical judgment when designing change projects. The ultimate goal in using an evidence-based approach is to improve the quality of care and health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities, and to improve the performance of healthcare systems. Any nurse can participate in and be leaders for EBP initiatives, if they are given the necessary skills.
I thought it very timely that ICN chose to focus on EBP, as nurses have the most direct contact with patients and are in the best position to identify the gaps in delivery of care. ICN has a wide reach with a membership of more than 130 NNAs representing more than 13 million nurses worldwide. The organization's mission embodies three goals: 1) to bring the nursing profession together worldwide, 2) to advance nurses and nursing, and 3) to influence health policy worldwide; and to instill five core values, visionary leadership, inclusiveness, flexibility, partnership, and achievement.2 It is important to consider the global community of nurses. While resources may vary, the driving force is a constant for all, "the presence worldwide of a respected nursing profession and a competent and satisfied nursing workforce."
We at the journal encourage nurses to continue to celebrate in the month of May by joining us at The National Conference for Nurse Practitioners May 16-19 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The most dynamic speakers from across the country will present evidence-based, best practices that will help you improve your knowledge base and skills. Find out more at http://www.ncnpconference.com.
The logo for 2012 National Nurses Week May 6-12, is Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring, celebrating the diversity of roles within the nursing profession.3 Each day we should reflect on the privilege of being a nurse and the power we have to change patient's lives for the better.
Jamesetta Newland, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP
1. ICN. Closing the gap: From evidence to action. Geneva, Switzerland: ICN. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.icn.ch/images/stories/documents/publications/ind/indkit2012.pdf. [Context Link]
2. International Council of Nurses. Our Mission. http://www.icn.ch/about-icn/icns-mission/. [Context Link]
3. American Nurses Association. National Nurses Week. http://nursingworld.org/NationalNursesWeek. [Context Link]
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