1. Baker, Kathy A. PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

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One of the most valuable contributions the Society of Gastroenter-ology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) brings to gastroenterology practice is our evidence-based practice documents, developed by gastroenterology nurses who voluntarily serve on the SGNA practice committee. These formal documents consist of position statements, standards, and guidelines that are developed based on input from SGNA members, the House of Delegates, and the Board of Directors, as well as other sources. When a potential topic is identified, the SGNA Practice Committee investigates to determine if credible evidence exists to support practice document development. If there is no credible evidence, the topic is revisited at a future date to determine if supporting evidence is now available.

Kathy A. Baker, PhD,... - Click to enlarge in new windowKathy A. Baker, PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

Scientific evidence that has been systematically developed and replicated, then synthesized, is the most credible evidence. But in the absence of this level of evidence, other levels of evidence such as multiple small studies that are clearly reported, manufacturer guidelines based on scientific principles, and even multiple case reports that consistently identify the same outcomes can be used to guide practice until the highest levels of evidence are available. Expert opinion is helpful and of value, but not regarded as a "stand-alone" high level of evidence, because it is lacking in systematic study of the phenomena of interest.


If credible evidence exists, the Practice Committee reviews the evidence over many months, considering the quality and level of evidence, and consulting with content experts as indicated, to determine recommendations for practice. In addition to the extensive work of the Practice Committee, proposed practice documents are then vetted by the Board of Directors, who actively dialogue with the committee until all parties agree the documents are ready for adoption and public distribution. After approval, the documents are posted on the SGNA website, published in Gastroenterology Nursing, and distributed to other nursing organizations in an effort to widely disseminate the practice recommendations. Once adopted, practice documents also undergo scheduled routine review by the Practice Committee, with revisions recommended based on any new evidence that also goes through the same rigorous process to establish the quality and credibility of the emerging evidence (Ingham-Broomfield, 2016).


Of interest to you and available through the SGNA website are helpful resources to support your advocacy for the use of SGNA practice documents in your practice setting. These include a practice document flyer that highlights the value of the SGNA documents, a PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview of the practice document process, a "talking point" script that can be used stand-alone or in conjunction with the PowerPoint presentation, and even a talking point guide to help you prepare for surveyors who may ask you about the SGNA practice documents you follow in your setting.


If you have not yet discovered these valuable resources, visit the SGNA website ( to access the documents and learn more about the practice document development process. While there can be similar practice recommendations from multiple organizations, it is prudent to follow the SGNA recommendations as they have been uniquely developed and vetted by practicing gastroenterology nurses using rigorous processes. Our practice documents are just one more example of how gastroenterology nurses are setting the practice standard in our specialty through our professional organization, SGNA. Be sure you, too, are meeting that standard!




Ingham-Broomfield R. (2016). A nurses' guide to the hierarchy of research designs and evidence. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(3), 38-43. [Context Link]