Evidence based practice in nursing

Evidence based practice in nursing


Evidence based practice (EBP) is a unique decision-making approach that incorporates patient’s preferences, clinician’s expertise and latest approved evidence based research findings in patient care. It was introduced in 1992 in the field of medicine and later spread to other sectors such as nursing, psychology, and education. EBP aims at transforming the health sector from using traditional practices of patient care to evidence based studies. Currently, 55% of nursing practices are evidence based.

Steps in evidence based practice

Although there is no standard criteria for weighing how much clinical expertise and patient choice contribute to EBP. There is a way of finding out whether evidence is weak or strong, and a procedure followed in EBP.

The first step is forming a clinical question. It should have a target population, interest, comparison group, outcomes, and a time span. After posing the question nurses should embark on acquiring evidence. The seven levels of evidence are used to define whether evidence is weak or strong.

Evidence should later be appraised to assess whether it is valid, reliable and applicable. If the evidence is reasonable, proceed to the next level which entails integrating it with other factors considered in EBP. Observe the outcomes and if they are positive share the information with others.

Example of evidence based practice

One example where evidence based practice is used in nursing is when measuring blood pressure. There different methods of measuring blood pressure in children and adults. The method used in children is known as the auscultatory method.

Impact of evidence based practice

EBP has brought many changes in the nursing sector. Several initiatives have been launched to bring evidence based practices alive in health institutions.  These include; practice and adoption initiative, education realignment, model and theory development. Lowa model and the Ace star model have played a critical role in actualizing EBP. The practice has also improved health and health systems.

Challenges of evidence based practice

Insufficient knowledge and education programs. Health professionals lack sufficient knowledge about how to conduct this practice. Also, evidence based practice sometimes encounter hostile environments that are not ready to change. People there are reluctant to believe research results and are comfortable with traditional practices. Evidence based practices have a sophisticated plan that is difficult to implement.


Evidence based practice is rapidly transforming the health sector. It is not only improving efficiency in patient care but also improving health and safety. Health professionals, policymakers, and other stakeholders have joined hands to ensure full implementation of the practice. Evidence based practice is facing a few challenges such as scarce knowledge about research and hostile environs.


Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (Eds.). (2011). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Burns, N., & Grove, S. K. (2010). Understanding nursing research-eBook: Building an evidence-based practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (2017). Nursing research-E-book: methods and critical appraisal for evidence-based practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Newhouse, R. P., Dearholt, S. L., Poe, S. S., Pugh, L. C., & White, K. M. (2007). Johns Hopkins nursing evidence-based practice model and guidelines. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.