Is there a difference between “common practice” and “best practice”? When you first went to work for your current organization, experienced colleagues may have shared with you details about processes and procedures. Perhaps you even attended an orientation session to brief you on these matters. As a “rookie,” you likely kept the nature of your questions to those with answers that would best help you perform your new role. Over time and with experience, perhaps you recognized aspects of these processes and procedures that you wanted to question further. This is the realm of clinical inquiry. Clinical inquiry is the practice of asking questions about clinical practice. To continuously improve patient care, all nurses should consistently use clinical inquiry to question why they are doing something the way they are doing it. Do they know why it is done this way, or is it just because we have always done it this way? Is it a common practice or a best practice? In this Assignment, you will identify clinical areas of interest and inquiry and practice searching for research in support of maintaining or changing these practices. You will also analyze this research to compare research methodologies employed. After reading each of the four peer-reviewed articles you selected, use the Matrix Worksheet template to analyze the methodologies applied in each of the four peer-reviewed articles. Your analysis should include the following:

The difference between “common practice” and “best practice” lies in the level of evidence and effectiveness associated with the practice. Common practice refers to the methods and procedures that are commonly used or widely accepted in a particular field or industry. These practices may have been in place for a long time and are often based on tradition, experience, or beliefs. Common practices may not necessarily be the most effective or evidence-based.

On the other hand, best practice refers to the methods and procedures that have been proven through research and evidence to be the most effective and efficient in achieving desired outcomes. Best practices are based on scientific evidence, rigorous research, and clinical trials. They are constantly updated as new evidence emerges and are considered the gold standard in a particular field.

In the context of healthcare, common practices may be the result of historical precedent, convenience, or a lack of awareness of more effective alternatives. Best practices, however, are grounded in evidence-based medicine and aim to provide the highest quality of care to patients.

Clinical inquiry plays a crucial role in distinguishing common practices from best practices. Clinical inquiry involves asking questions about the rationale behind certain practices and seeking evidence to support or challenge the current practice. It encourages nurses to critically evaluate the existing practices and make informed decisions based on the available evidence.

By engaging in clinical inquiry, nurses can bridge the gap between common practices and best practices, leading to improved patient outcomes. Nurses are encouraged to question the reasons behind current practices and to seek evidence to support or challenge these practices. This helps to ensure that the care provided is based on the best available evidence and is aligned with the most up-to-date standards of care.

In this assignment, you will be identifying clinical areas of interest and inquiry and practice searching for research that supports the maintenance or change of these practices.

To begin, you will need to select four peer-reviewed articles that are relevant to your chosen clinical area. Peer-reviewed articles are those that have been evaluated by experts in the field before publication to ensure their quality and validity.

Once you have selected your articles, you will use the Matrix Worksheet template to analyze the methodologies employed in each article. The analysis should include the following factors:

1. Study design: Identify the type of study design used in each article, such as randomized controlled trial, cohort study, case-control study, etc. Different study designs have different strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the design used can help you assess the validity of the study.

2. Sample size and characteristics: Examine the size and characteristics of the sample used in each study. Consider factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, and any specific inclusion or exclusion criteria. A larger and more diverse sample size generally enhances the generalizability of the study findings.

3. Data collection methods: Evaluate the methods used to collect data in each study. This may include surveys, interviews, physical assessments, or laboratory tests. Assess the reliability and validity of these methods and whether they align with the research question.

4. Data analysis techniques: Examine the statistical techniques used to analyze the data in each study. This may include descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, regression analysis, etc. Understanding the statistical methods employed can help you assess the accuracy and reliability of the study findings.

5. Results and conclusions: Analyze the results and conclusions drawn from the study. Consider whether the findings support or challenge the current practice and whether they are statistically significant. Evaluate the strength of the evidence provided and the implications for clinical practice.

By analyzing the methodologies employed in each of the four peer-reviewed articles, you will gain a deeper understanding of the evidence supporting or challenging common practices in your chosen clinical area. This will help you make informed decisions about maintaining or changing these practices in your own practice setting.