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Focusing on evidence-based practice

What is evidence-based practice?

Evidence-based practice integrates research evidence, patient preferences and clinical expertise

Evidence-based practice in nursing integrates research evidence, patient preferences and the clinical expertise nurses gain over time from practice. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs include coursework on how to find , interpret, and apply evidence to improve patient safety, care and outcomes. For those registered nurses with diplomas or associate degrees, this knowledge can be acquired in an online RN to BSN program.

Value and reasons for evidence-based practice

Nursing research is important because it leads to an increase in knowledge about nursing practice, administration and education. Traditionally, nurses have based patient care on a variety of factors including trial and error, authority instruction, personal experience, intuition and reasoning. Clinical experience is an important key to the puzzle of evidence-based practice in nursing, separating it from simply following set rules and guidelines. In addition, every patient has his or her own care preferences. Patients need to be at the center of the care; nurses play a key role in partnering with patients and engaging in shared decisions about their health.

Evidence-based practice in nursing closes the gap between scientific evidence and experiential evidence. Nurses have to decide if the evidence is applicable for specific patients. Clinical expertise helps nurses weigh the risks and benefits of treatments for patients and takes into account each patient’s unique circumstances, including diagnoses, comorbidities and preferences. This integration of knowledge and experience leads to better patient outcomes, safer, more efficient and effective care.

Online RN to BSN programs focus on evidence-based practice

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing requires that all baccalaureate nursing education programs include instruction on the research process. A key reason for registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s degree is so they can learn how to interpret research and integrate scientific findings into clinical practice.

Nurses who have a hospital diploma or associate degree can further their education by enrolling in online RN to BSN programs that includes coursework on evidence-based practice. Online programs, such as the one offered by Purdue Northwest, allow actively practicing nurses to earn their degree while continuing to work, thus allowing them to experience the implementation of evidence-based practice firsthand in their practice.


The Importance of Nursing Research. Retrieved from

The State of Evidence-Based Practice in US Nurses: Critical Implications for Nurse Leaders and Educators.
Journal of Nursing Administration. 2012. Retrieved from

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