The terms “common practice” and “best practice” are often used interchangeably but they have distinct meanings in various fields, including healthcare. In the context of clinical practice, common practice refers to the prevailing habits or routines followed by healthcare professionals in a specific setting. These practices may have been established over time and may or may not be evidence-based. On the other hand, best practice refers to the approach or intervention that has been shown to consistently produce the best outcomes based on scientific evidence and research. Best practices are constantly evolving with advancements in research and technology.
Clinical Inquiry in Nursing
Clinical inquiry is the practice of questioning and critically analyzing clinical practices to improve patient care. It involves asking why certain practices are performed in a specific way, and whether these practices are based on evidence or simply tradition. Nurses play a crucial role in clinical inquiry as they are at the forefront of patient care. By engaging in clinical inquiry, nurses can identify areas of improvement, challenge common practices, and seek out best practices to enhance patient outcomes.
Identifying Clinical Areas of Interest and Inquiry
To engage in clinical inquiry, nurses need to identify areas of interest and further explore them. These areas can be related to specific nursing interventions, assessment techniques, medication administration, or any other aspect of patient care. By questioning the rationale behind current practices, nurses can identify areas where evidence is lacking or conflicting, and seek out research to support or challenge these practices.
Searching for Research in Support of Maintaining or Changing Practices
Once an area of interest has been identified, nurses can start looking for research studies to support or challenge the current practices in that area. Research can be found in various sources such as scholarly journals, databases, and clinical practice guidelines. Nurses should always look for studies that are peer-reviewed, as this ensures the quality and validity of the research. It is important to critically analyze the methodology used in these studies to determine if they are reliable and applicable to the current clinical setting.
Analyzing Research Methodologies
Analyzing the methodologies employed in research studies is essential to determine the validity and reliability of the findings. The Matrix Worksheet template provided can be used to analyze the methodologies applied in each of the selected peer-reviewed articles. The analysis should include the following components:
1. Study design: Identify the study design used in each article, such as randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, case-control studies, or qualitative research.
2. Sample size and characteristics: Examine the sample size and characteristics of the study population. A larger sample size generally provides more reliable results. Also, consider if the sample population is similar to the target population in the clinical setting.
3. Data collection methods: Evaluate the methods used to collect data, such as surveys, interviews, observations, or medical record reviews. Assess if these methods are appropriate and comprehensive for capturing the required information.
4. Data analysis: Determine the statistical or qualitative analysis methods used in the study. Assess if these methods are appropriate for the research question and if the statistical analysis accounts for potential confounding variables.
In conclusion, clinical inquiry is an essential practice for nurses to question and improve clinical practices. By identifying areas of interest and inquiry, and seeking out research to support or challenge current practices, nurses can enhance patient outcomes. Analyzing the methodologies employed in research studies is crucial in determining the validity and reliability of the findings. By critically evaluating the methodology, nurses can make informed decisions about maintaining or changing practices based on the best available evidence.