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Addressing the current challenges of adopting evidence-based practice in nursing

09 September 2021
12 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 16


This aim of this article is to explore the current position of evidence-based practice (EBP) in nursing. The article provides an overview of the historical context and emergence of EBP with an outline of the EBP process. There is an exploration of the current challenges facing the nursing profession as it endeavours to adopt EBP into care delivery, along with actions to address these challenges. There will also be a discussion on how to integrate EBP into undergraduate nursing curricula as academic institutions implement the Future nurse standards of proficiency from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

It has been suggested that the idea of delivering care based on evidence had its early foundations in the 1800s with Florence Nightingale, who aimed to provide better outcomes for patients who experienced unsanitary conditions (Mackey and Bassendowski, 2017). However, it is generally agreed that Professor Archie Cochrane, whose work inspired the Cochrane Collaboration (Smith and Rennie, 2014; Barker and Linsley, 2016), is credited for being at the forefront of the modern evidence-based practice (EBP) approach. The concept of evidence-based medicine (EBM) emerged from researchers at McMaster University, Canada, who redefined the practice of medicine to move from a culture based solely on clinical experience, to one which is more inclusive of medical evidence (International Council of Nurses, 2012). Smith and Rennie (2014) noted that the phrase EBM was coined by Gordon Guyatt in 1991, so has had a relatively short life span. Although a number of individuals contributed to the development of EBM, David Sackett is regarded as the father of EBM as in 1996 he distinguished EBM as one that combines research evidence with clinical skills, and patient values and preferences (Smith and Rennie, 2014).

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