As we think about reasons to celebrate nurses’ work during Nurses Week, we shouldn’t overlook significant changes that have changed how we approach our work and that have, I think, done much to improve our credibility as a profession based on science.
When evidence-based-practice (EBP) gained momentum several years ago, many nurses I spoke with rolled their eyes and shrugged. They essentially looked at it as another “fad” that administrators and educators were propagating and that would just add to the already heavy workload of staff nurses. But EBP was and is different, and is vitally important for nursing – more importantly, it’s vital to our patients.
Nursing processes in hospitals were static over many decades. Just think of the many “sacred cows” of nursing that have been refuted by research – vital signs every four hours; pre-op skin shaving; daily dressing changes; instilling saline into endotracheal tubes; keeping new moms on bedrest after delivery; putting newborns to sleep on their stomachs, just to name a few. Some of these practices impeded healing or put patients at higher risk for complications. EBP has eliminated or replaced them with care processes grounded in science. Not only have patients benefited, but consider the amount of nursing time, effort and resources wasted on interventions that offered no benefit!
Hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission are required “…to select evidence based or peer reviewed literature” to support clinical practice guidelines, and most electronic health records now have evidence-based protocols with references to the literature on which they are based. And now nurses are becoming major contributors to this literature, as they disseminate information about successful quality improvement efforts based on implementing EBP.
is happy to support and disseminate these worthy projects (We grouped them under “Quality Improvement” under the Collections tab on our Web site, www.ajnonline.com
). We’ve enlisted Lynn Gallagher-Ford, PhD, RN, NE-BC, DPFNAP, FAAN, and Sharon Tucker, PhD, RN, FAAN, both at the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare at the Ohio State University College of Nursing in Columbus, to lead a series to help nurses implement EBP. (Here’s a blog post
explaining the series.) These experts found that while nurses know about EBP, they often get stuck in making the change “stick” over the long term. The first article, “EBP 2.0: From Strategy to Implementation
,” appeared in our April issue and will run every other month through the year. (Our original series, Evidence-Based Practice, Step by Step
is available AND you can earn CE credit.) And there’s a wealth of information, too, on NursingCenter’s Evidence Based Practice Network