The evidence-based practice process is a systematic approach to healthcare decision-making that integrates the best available evidence with clinical judgment and patient preferences. The first step in this process is to evaluate the nursing practice environment to identify a nursing problem in the clinical area. This step requires nurses to critically assess their practice settings and identify areas where improvements can be made.
Once a nursing problem is discovered, the nurse researcher develops a clinical guiding question to address that nursing practice problem. This question is known as a PICOT question, which stands for: Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Time. The PICOT question serves as a framework for conducting a systematic search of the literature to find relevant research evidence to guide clinical practice.
The PICOT question must be relevant to a nursing practice problem and provide a clear focus for the subsequent steps in the evidence-based practice process. It should be specific, measurable, and answerable through research evidence. The components of the PICOT question are as follows:
1. Population: This refers to the specific group of patients or individuals to whom the nursing practice problem applies. It could be a specific age group, gender, or a population with a specific health condition.
2. Intervention: This refers to the specific nursing intervention or treatment under investigation. It could be a particular therapy, medication, or nursing care practice.
3. Comparison: This refers to the alternative or different method of nursing care or treatment being considered. It could be a different medication, a different type of therapy, or a variation in nursing care practices.
4. Outcome: This refers to the specific measurable outcome that is expected to result from the nursing intervention. It could be a change in patient outcomes such as improved pain management, reduced infection rates, or increased patient satisfaction.
5. Time: This refers to the specific time frame within which the desired outcome is expected to occur. It could be a short-term outcome that occurs during the hospital stay or a long-term outcome that occurs after discharge.
By formulating a clear and focused PICOT question, nurses can guide their literature search to find relevant research evidence. The goal is to find research studies that address the specific components of the PICOT question and provide the best available evidence to inform nursing practice.
In order to support the PICOT question, it is important to identify and analyze peer-reviewed research articles. Peer-reviewed articles are those that have been critically evaluated by experts in the field before publication. These articles provide a higher level of evidence compared to other types of literature, such as systematic reviews or literature reviews.
When searching for research articles, it is important to use appropriate keywords and search terms that narrow or broaden the main topic. For example, if the nursing practice problem is related to diabetes in pediatric patients receiving dialysis, the search terms could include “diabetes,” “pediatric,” and “dialysis” to narrow down the results.
To determine the research design used in the articles, it is important to review the abstract and the methods section of each article. The authors usually provide a description of the data collection methods, which can be qualitative or quantitative. This information will help determine the level of evidence provided by each article.
It is important to note that while systematic reviews, literature reviews, and meta-analyses are valuable resources and provide a strong level of evidence, they are not considered primary research articles. Therefore, they should not be included in the selection of articles for this assignment.
When documenting sources, it is important to follow APA formatting guidelines. While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and proper citation and referencing should be included.
In summary, the first step of the evidence-based practice process involves evaluating the nursing practice environment to identify a nursing problem. This problem is then addressed through the formulation of a PICOT question. The PICOT question serves as a framework for conducting a literature search to find relevant research evidence. Peer-reviewed research articles are analyzed and selected to support the PICOT question. Proper documentation of sources in APA format is essential for academic writing.