Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare


Evidence-based practice is the consistence application of the best available evidence together with clinical expertise in making clinical decisions concerning patient’s medical care (Dawes & Hill, 2000). Thus health practitioners use both qualitative and evaluative approach in addressing healthcare issues. Moreover, the practitioners have the opportunity to evaluate clinical guidelines, past and current research, and any other information so as to come up with the best literature whilst at the same time being able to know the low-quality and high-quality solutions. As research has demonstrated “tried and true practices are not usually the best practice” (Polit & Beck, 2007).


Evidence-based practice entails formulation of fine-structured questions, identification of literature resources that solve the question, appraisal of the evidence, its application, and re-evaluation of the use of the evidence. Due to the usefulness of research evidence it is essential for health practitioners to develop a learning culture and build their skills in search, comprehension, and evaluation of fresh information that is related to patient care, as well as be flexible enough to absorb changes (Polit & Beck, 2007).

Evidence-based practice emphasizes on the use of best available evidence buy also integrates other factors. That is to say, in contrast to some erroneous belief, proponents of evidence-based practice appreciate the significance of clinical science. A major aspect in evidence-based practice, however, is that evidence should be personalized to satisfy the needs of a particular patient in a specific clinical setup.

Research utilization refers to the application of findings that are as a result of systematic research done in practical situation, and it is usually not connected to the initial study. In research utilization, emphasis is laid on the conversion of empirically acquired knowledge into real-scenario applications. This process starts with establishment of a new knowledge that is based on research.

As seen in the definition of both research utilization and evidence-based practice, there is a clear distinction between the two. Evidence-based practice is broader than research utilization, and thus it has replaced the previously significant concept (research utilization) in nursing care.

Today it is impossible to ignore the use of research in nursing practice. Nurses are constantly making decisions and providing advice on medical care (Hamer, Collinson, & Gray, 1999). As such, research comes in handy in trying to get the best available solution to a specific case. Moreover, in trying to establish a clinical problem as well as solution for the problem nurses are utilizing research in their practice.

In 1995, Lindeman established that looking for better approach to increase the use of research is a top priority in nursing care. Later on, Craig and Smyth (2002) argued that clinical nurses experienced difficulties in acquiring research findings within there are of specialization. Moreover, factors such as costs and time required in implementation of research findings, resistance to changes in work environment, lack of harmonization with research conclusion, irrelevance of research for practice, and lack of incentives for implementation of the findings have been cited some of the impediments in utilization of research in the nursing practice.


On top of being a ‘best practice’ approach, evidence-based practice is a heuristic framework that aims to foster accountable and explicit decisional capacities (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2004). Therefore, in future guidelines for this approach will not ignore the contribution of both researchers and the practitioners.


Craig, J. V. & Smyth, R. L. (2002): The Evidence-based Practice Manual for Nurses. New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Dawes,M. & Hill, A.(2000): Evidence-based Practice. USA: Emap Public Sector Management.

Hamer, S., Collinson, G. & Gray, J.A. M. (1999): Achieving Evidence-based Practice: A Handbook for Practitioners. UK: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Melnyk, B.M. & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2004): Evidence-based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare: A Guide to Best Practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Polit, D. F. & Beck, C. T. (2007): Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice, 8th edn. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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