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What Is Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing?

Evidence-based practice (EBP) enhances the art of nursing by using scientific procedures to improve patient outcomes and minimize costs. It integrates evidence from research with clinical expertise and patients’ values to guide nursing decisions. Rather than continuing “nursing as usual,” nurses who engage in EBP think critically about current practices and procedures, questioning them in order to improve them.

Nurses completing their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree at the University of Saint Mary gain the knowledge and skills they need to implement evidence-based practice. They develop the understanding that helps them evaluate sometimes conflicting research, and they acquire the nursing management skills to integrate evidence-based changes into health care practice.

Managing Change

EBP, by its very nature, fosters continued educational growth. Nurses who thrive in EBP environments will develop both nursing and management skills.

For example, because evidence-based practice encourages nurses to question existing procedures, nurses also must have the knowledge of how to change those practices. Changes can be expensive and time-consuming and often require training and materials to support the new procedures. Even evidence-based changes, therefore, may encounter resistance from practitioners.

Implementing improvements is possible when nurses develop new competencies. These added skills allow them to apply fresh learning to clinical decision-making and also to document the outcomes of specific interventions. Nurses may launch their own research programs to evaluate results under the specific conditions within their organization.

Nurses who adhere to the tenets of EBP also must pay more attention to patient preferences and satisfaction. For example, a survey of 536 nurses in four countries found that while more than 90 percent said that talking with patients about their expectations and their satisfaction was important, only 12 percent reported doing so routinely.

Magnet Recognition

The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program aims to improve prioritizing EBP within the daily routine at all health care facilities.

Evidence-based practice is a hallmark of the Magnet Recognition Program, and the results are compelling. Magnet hospitals, which encourage nurses to recognize and reward nursing excellence among their colleagues, boast a higher percentage of satisfied nurses. That contentment enhances nursing staff stability and improves patient outcomes.

The role of evidence in clinical decision-making is at the root of the improvements. EBP removes the unpredictability and inconsistency that can undermine health care decisions because in EBP nurses make decisions based on published research. This approach clarifies the rationale behind decisions. The result minimizes confusion in both clinical and operational settings.

An MSN is the Foundation of EBP

A Master of Science in Nursing degree provides the grounding nurses need to thrive in an evidence-based practice environment.

One of the classes at the University of Saint Mary, for example, is “Analysis and Utilization of Research.” It focuses on critical analysis of nursing and health care research as it applies to nurses. As the foundation of evidence-based practice, it teaches nurses effective strategies to access and understand research data and then to translate that data into their day-to-day practice.

Another core class, “Health Care Policy and Ethics,” examines the multiple influences on American health care policy, including the effect of regulations on accessibility, accountability, and affordability. Those considerations, along with technological and ethical concerns, shape nurses’ decision-making processes.

Request more information or call 877-307-4915 to speak with an admissions advisor about the Master of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Saint Mary and how it can help further your career.