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Evidence-based practice in nursing

Angela Grainger - Emeritus Professor of Nursing, BPP University School of Nursing First published: Last updated:

What is evidence-based practice?

Sackett et al (1996) defined the term ‘evidence-based medicine’ as:

The conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients

Delegates who attended the second international conference of Evidence-Based Health Care Teachers and Developers decided that the term ‘evidence-based practice’ would be preferable to evidence-based medicine (Dawes et al, 2005), because it reflects that healthcare practitioners do not only work in medicine, but have varied and distinct professional training and careers.

Evidence-based nursing

Evidence-based nursing is closely linked to the role of nursing and evolves alongside changes in definitions across medicine and nursing. The Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN, 2023) definition of nursing emphasises the role of registered nurses as decision makers. Nurses use clinical judgement and problem-solving skills to manage and coordinate the complexity of health and social care systems to ensure that people

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Angela Grainger

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