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Evidence Base Practice and the Theory-Practice Gap, Essay Example

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Essay

Evidence based practice is a useful method to further the field of nursing practice (Spring et al, 2014). Because it integrates observations and conclusions from previously conducted experimental studies, nurses are able to treat their patients based on concepts that have reached consensus in the field. Furthermore, it provides healthcare professionals with an understanding of the knowledge that it currently lacked in the field. Practitioners can use this understanding to determine the best ways to solve their cases, which will eventually contribute back to evidence based practice if the treatment is unique.

Despite the usefulness of evidence based practice, it is important to consider the negative impact that this process can occasionally have on patient care. For example, with several rare cases, there is currently no standard of care and little research is conducted in an attempt to fill these knowledge gaps (Croft et al., 2011). In these situations, healthcare professionals are forced to use the little evidence they have available to operate. This doesn’t always contribute to the best outcomes for the patient and leads to difficult decisions for the nursing team.

In some cases, studies that are purely qualitative on relevant subjects provide an ideal understanding of cases and treatment methods. However, these are dismissed because quantitative numbers are a better measure of success. Occasionally, it is detrimental to the patient to dismiss this type of evidence as a possibility in treatment. Thus, it is essential for nurses who used evidence based practice to do a comprehensive search of all academic papers of the topic and decide upon a treatment method that is in logic concordance with current research.

While utilizing evidence based practice can be potentially detrimental in some situations, it is beneficial in most others. When peer-reviewed journals are able to demonstrate agreement in the field, they can be a useful source in advancing the nursing practice. Furthermore, it is important to continue contributing the knowledge that has been learned both from practice in the field and from formal research projects. By doing so, there original medical opinions can be confirmed or rejected, and information about cases in which they are applicable can be generated. Thus, evidence based practice has the potential for contributing to the growth of medical knowledge.

A focus on EBP would be good for advanced nursing practice because nurses are expected to use their expertise in order to help others. This requirement includes doing all that is ethically possible. An easy way to do so is to remain knowledgeable about the field and to participate in lifelong learning (Thyer et al., 2011). Therefore, it is essential for good nurses to remain up to date with the most recent medical journals. When the nurse or other medical professionals are faced with a complex problem, this knowledge will help build towards a reasonable solution.

Some drawbacks that are associated with practice are primarily associated with healthcare practitioners themselves (Patterson-Silver et al., 2012). Evidence based practice requires strong critical thinking skills to be successful in addition to an open mindedness about changing practice. Many healthcare professionals believe that the traditional techniques are better and it is difficult to dissuade them, despite the wealth of research available that demonstrates evidence based practice is useful. Ultimately, to ensure that evidence based practice continues to be used to its maximal benefit, it is important to implement education programs that will encourage entire institutions to use it in practice.

References

Croft P, Malmivaara A, van Tulder M. (2011). The Pros and Cons of Evidence-Based Medicine. Spine, 36(17): E1121–E1125.

Patterson-Silver Wolf DA, Dulmus CN, Maguin, E. (2012). Empirically supported treatment’s impact on organizational culture and climate.Research on Social Work Practice, 22(6): 665–671.

Spring B, Neville K. (2014). Evidence-based practice in clinical psychology. Oxford University Press, 128–149.

Thyer BA, Myers LL. (2011). The quest for evidence-based practice: A view from the United States. Journal of Social Work, 11(1): 8-25.

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