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COVID-19 pandemic, Critical care nursing, Evidence-based practice, Social media



  1. Bourgault, Annette M. PhD, RN, CNL, FAAN
  2. Davis, Jean W. PhD, DNP, EdD, APRN, FNP-BC, PHCNS-BC
  3. Peach, Brian C. PhD, RN, CCRN
  4. Ahmed, Rohina BSN, RN
  5. Wheeler, Megan BSN, BS, RN


Background: The evidence-based practice (EBP) process was challenged during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic by factors such as a novel disease, rapidly changing guidelines, shortage of personal protective equipment, and other health care supplies.


Objectives: Our aims were to (1) explore sources of evidence sought by critical care nurses during a pandemic and (2) explore nurses' perceptions of EBP.


Methods: A qualitative exploratory study was conducted using deidentified data from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (ACCN) open-access Facebook page, January 28 to April 30, 2020.


Results: Two major themes were identified: (1) "sharing and seeking evidence," that is, nurses used both formal and informal sources to explore evidence supporting evolving clinical practices, and (2) "concerns about evidence," that is, nurses expressed concerns about lack of evidence and mistrust of evolving evidence.


Discussion: Initially, there was a mismatch in nurses' expectations of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Facebook page. A major limitation of Facebook is the lack of a repository for quick retrieval of information. Despite these limitations, and fear and mistrust of changing guidelines, social media was used to communicate, collaborate, and share evidence to support clinical practice. Critical care nurses seemed to value evidence to support patient management and their personal safety during this evolving health crisis.


Conclusions: Social media played a large role in dissemination of timely evidence-based information during the early pandemic. Our results show that current EBP models should be revised to prepare for future crises and include direction for dealing with limited health care resources, and lack of and/or rapidly changing evidence.