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Nursing Program Guide

General purpose guide collecting resources and information to support the nursing program at Western.

Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice is a component of the American Nursing Association’s “Scholarly Inquiry” Standard of Professional Practice. There, evidence-based practice is defined as, “A lifelong problem-solving approach that integrates the best evidence from well-designed research studies and evidence-based theories; clinical expertise and evidence from assessment of the healthcare consumer’s history and condition, as well as health care resources; and patient, family, group, community, and population preferences and values.”

Utilizing evidence-based practice means that nurses and nursing students provide patient care based on research studies and clinical expertise and do not just do something “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” A simple example of nurses promoting evidence-based practice to help patients is using peppermint to relieve nausea. Throughout history, peppermint was used for an upset stomach and to relieve the feeling of nausea. This idea was frequently rejected in the medical field because there was no scientific evidence to support it. However, In 2016, Lynn Bayne and Helen Hawrylack, two nurse researchers, developed a peppermint inhaler for patients to use when they were feeling nauseated and found it was 93% effective in relieving nausea.

Content adapted from Nursing Fundamentals by Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN), CC-BY.

Evidence-Based Practice Steps

Step 0: Cultivate a spirit of inquiry.

Step 1: Ask clinical questions in PICOT format.

P - Patient or Population: Describes the most important characteristics of the patient

I - Intervention: Describes the main intervention

C - Comparison: If appropriate, describes the main alternative being considered

O - Outcome: Describes what you are trying to accomplish, measure, improve or affect

T - Time: time for the intervention to achieve the outcome

Step 2: Search for the best evidence.

Step 3: Critically appraise the evidence.

Step 4: Integrate the evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences and values.

Step 5: Evaluate the outcomes of the practice decisions or changes based on evidence.

Step 6: Disseminate EBP results.


Steps quoted from Melnyk, B.M.; Fineout-Overholt, E.; Stillwell, S.B.; Williamson, KM. Evidence-Based Practice: Step by Step: The Seven Steps of Evidence-Based Practice, AJN, American Journal of Nursing: January 2010: volume 110, issue 1, p 51-53. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000366056.06605.d2. Retrieved from

Specific Evidence-Based Practice Resources

Note that although these resources are specifically designed for use in evidence-based practice, any or all of the additional resources on this guide can be integrated into EBP. Primary journal articles, secondary sources, and reference materials can all provide quality information and can be integrated into making informed decisions. For more information about this, please speak with your instructor or a librarian.

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