Evidence-based practice enables health care professionals to deliver effective, accessible, patient-centered, and safe care based on credible research findings. Practice scholars have a responsibility to engage in a lifelong learning process and continuous search for new information so as to improve patient outcomes and strengthen the healthcare system. That is why one could state that there is a need to follow particular strategies to stay informed about the current best available evidence. Usually, they include monitoring of new scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and databases for synthesized evidence and participation in professional forums and conferences (Simpson, 2015). For example, creating a PubMed MyNCBI account will allow for tracking new research studies on topics of interest. There are also other websites that provide summary findings on clinical questions, as well as regularly publish clinical practice guidelines.
However, it is worth mentioning that the problem with the utilization of the best available evidence is not that it is hard to find but that it takes some time and experience to distinguish between trustworthy, high-quality, and valuable evidence and non-reliable evidence. Thus, once found, a research study needs to be critically appraised by a practicing scholar in order to determine if it may be used to inform a practice problem. Only after limitations, evidence level, and the quality of research have been identified, should conclusions be made whether the study findings can be further used.
Knowledge of the best evidence may be shared through effective dissemination strategies to ensure that healthcare professionals stay abreast of new findings in their field. Two broad goals of evidence dissemination are to increase the reach of evidence and to motivate staff to use and apply it. Once a practicing scholar has decided that the evidence has a good quality, he or she may distribute it in several ways to those he or she leads. Platforms through which new knowledge may be spread to others include social media, brochures, presentations, conferences, forums, journals, and team meetings. Educational outreach is considered to be the most effective active dissemination method (Curtis, Fry, Shaban, & Considine, 2016). As a change agent, a practicing scholar may share the information via e-mail and text messages and schedule a weekly team meeting to talk about the current evidence in the field. It is important to encourage discussions between the personnel to increase their ability to use and apply evidence.
Sustainability means the continuous use of certain practices at sufficient frequency that will enable one to reach desirable outcomes. However, little is known about how well gains of health innovations are maintained after they have been put into practice. Despite the palpable benefits of evidence-based practice, challenges associated with its implementation may serve as a serious barrier to its sustainability. Strategies that may be employed to ensure the maintenance of the evidence-based practice include strong leadership and the creation of an environment that could foster the change. Interprofessional leaders need to collaborate on a shared mission and motivate other personnel to support the change. To effectively sustain the evidence-based practice, it is imperative to pay attention to communication strategies that include explaining the need for the change and sharing new guidelines and procedures with the staff. For a practicing scholar, it is also important to regularly ensure that workers have the required skills and knowledge to support the change.
Curtis, K., Fry, M., Shaban, R. Z., & Considine, J. (2016). Translating research findings to clinical nursing practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(6), 862-872.
Simpson, S. H. (2015). Applying new evidence into practice: A need for knowledge translation. The Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, 68(2), 100-101.