Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
Dramatic changes have occurred in the nursing field, and they have promoted the quality of care offered by nurses to their patients. Florence Nightingale cared for soldiers during the Crimean war and is still recognized as a significant contributor to the advances in the nursing profession. Her work established nurses’ role in caregiving.
Research in the nursing field has improved since Florence Nightingale’s days. During her time, she obtained most of the information she needed about patients by examining the condition of the soldiers she cared for and determining the environments that promoted or reduced their risks of morbidity and mortality. Her work paved the way for more nursing studies that focused on examining patient needs and the best environment for caring for patients (Karimi & Alavi, 2015). A major step in the nursing profession was the development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1887 because it placed nursing in the same position as other healthcare professions that were involved in the research. During the early 2000s, nurses became more focused on research as a way of ensuring that they understood their patients’ conditions and the types of interventions needed (Houser, 2018). In 2010, after the release of the IOM report that pushed nurses towards utilization of EBP and participation in nursing research, more nurses began considering nursing informatics and research as possible career paths (Black, Balneaves, Garossino, Puyat, & Qian, 2015). Inventions used in healthcare facilities became more focused on evidence from research.
Evidence-based practice (EBP) involves relying on information obtained from research in making critical decisions about the assessment approaches, diagnostic methods, or interventions that will be used in managing a patient. It entails formulating a clinical question based on a patient’s state and searching for research studies that answer the question. On the other hand, research involves making inquiries based on assumptions, previously conducted studies, or theories to prove whether the information obtained is true (Houser, 2018). Research can also be viewed as a way of trying to find solutions for a problem based on theoretical assumptions.
One past historical, unethical breach occurred in 1932 when the Tuskegee Institute was researching the treatment of syphilis in an African American population. The unethical breach aspect of the research occurred in the 1940s when penicillin was discovered as the appropriate drug for managing syphilis, yet the researchers continued using placebos on the African American population, leading to the death of most of the participants. The research raised numerous questions regarding racial injustice, mistreatment of research subjects, maleficence, and lack of informed consent, as the participants were not informed about the effects the research would have on them (Paul & Brookes, 2015). The incident also led to the establishment of ethical rules for research. I would ensure the care of study participants through ethical principles like informed consent that ensures that the participants understand the possible effects of the research on their lives and nonmaleficence that focus on inflicting the least harm possible or not harming the participants.
Today, nurses are encouraged to advance their education, participate in research, and utilize EBP in their practice. The use of EBP has improved patient outcomes. The effects of the Tuskegee case on the participants have also made nurses keen in following ethical considerations related to human research.
Black, A. T., Balneaves, L. G., Garossino, C., Puyat, J. H., & Qian, H. (2015). Promoting Evidence-Based Practice Through a Research Training Program for Point-of-Care Clinicians. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(1), 14-20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4263611/.
Houser, J. (2018). Nursing research: Reading, using, and creating evidence (4th ed.). Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Karimi, H., & Alavi, N. M. (2015). Florence Nightingale: The Mother of Nursing. Nursing and Midwifery Studies, 4(2), e29475. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557413/.
Paul, C., & Brookes, B. (2015). The Rationalization of Unethical Research: Revisionist Accounts of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the New Zealand “Unfortunate Experiment”. American Journal of Public Health, 105(10), e12-e19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568718