What is Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing? (With Examples, Benefits, & Challenges)

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a nurse looking for ways to increase patient satisfaction, improve patient outcomes, and impact the profession? Have you found yourself caught between traditional nursing approaches and new patient care practices? Although evidence-based practices have been used for years, this concept is the focus of patient care today more than ever. Perhaps you are wondering, “What is evidence-based practice in nursing?” In this article, I will share information to help you begin understanding evidence-based practice in nursing + 10 examples about how to implement EBP.

What Is Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

Evidence-based practice in nursing is an approach to providing nursing care that uses the most current research available to improve the safety, health, and well-being of patients. This practice focuses on delivering high-quality patient care while reducing healthcare costs and variations in patient outcomes. EBP in nursing focuses on the integration of clinical expertise including the knowledge, critical reasoning, and judgment skills acquired through nursing training and professional experiences.


When Was Evidence-Based Practice First Introduced In Nursing?

The earliest demonstrations of evidence-based practice in nursing date back to the 1850s when Florence Nightingale’s book Notes on Nursing outlined the framework for evidence-based nursing practice as we know it today. The term evidence-based practice made its appearance in literature in 1996 and was defined as “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” (Sackett DL, Rosenberg WM, Gray JA, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence-based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ. 1996;312(7023):71–72) In her 1999 publication, “About Evidence-Based Nursing Practicein Nursing Management, Marjorie Beyers discussed the requirements and benefits of implementing an evidence-based practice nursing model.

Who Introduced Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

Several sources have been credited with introducing evidence-based practice in nursing. One source is Professor Archie Cochrane, an epidemiologist from the United Kingdom, whose research studies indicated that practices based on evidence instead of traditional care trends, resulted in improved outcomes for patients and staff. Additionally, Florence Nightingale’s endeavors in the 1800s and Gordon Guyatt, who is known as one of the earliest advocates for evidence-based medicine, have impacted EBP and are credited with some form of theory related to evidence-based practices in nursing.

What Is The Difference Between Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing And Research In Nursing?

There is some misconception that evidence-based practice in nursing and research in nursing are the same. However, while there are similarities, there are some distinct, fundamental differences. The main difference between EBP in nursing and nursing research is their purpose.

The fundamental purpose of evidence-based practice in nursing is to use the best evidence available to make informed decisions about patient care. Research in nursing is used to validate existing nursing knowledge based on theory and generate new knowledge to promote better nursing practices and promote favorable patient outcomes. While most of the best evidence used in nursing practice stems from nursing research, EBP in nursing goes further to translate evidence from research and apply it to clinical nursing practices.

What Are The Benefits Of Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

The importance of evidence-based practice in nursing is undeniable, especially as we continue to gather new research and test theories related to patient care. EBP in nursing aids nurses in pinpointing strategies to patient care and has become a vital component of high-quality patient care. Below, you will find the top five benefits of evidence-based nursing practices as they apply to patients, nurses, and healthcare organizations.

Top 5 Benefits To The Patient

1. Evidence-based practice in nursing promotes positive patient outcomes by supporting a shared decision-making approach between nurses and patients.
2. Reduced Risk of Hospital-Acquired Infections: One of the most common, yet preventable problems associated with hospital admissions is the risk of hospital-acquired infections. When nurses implement proven, evidence-based infection control measures, the risk of patients developing HAIs is greatly reduced.
3. EBP in nursing allows nurses to involve patients in their care planning, promoting patient autonomy, which is a patient right.
4. Another benefit of evidence-based practice in nursing is that it prompts nurses to alter methods of care if the current care plan contradicts best evidence-based practices, contributing to improved patient care.
5. Reduced Cost of Healthcare: Because evidence-based practices in nursing aim to prevent complications or unforeseen patient issues, they are instrumental in reducing healthcare costs.

Top 5 Benefits To The Nurse

1. Evidence-based practice in nursing provides nurses with scientifically supported research to help them make well-educated decisions.
2. EBP in nursing helps nurses stay up-to-date about new nursing interventions and protocols used in patient care.
3. Evidence-based practice for nurses enhances critical thinking among nurses.
4. Another benefit of evidence-based practices in nursing is that they promote strong decision-making skills.
5. Because evidence-based practices are based on research, the use of EBP encourages lifelong learning.

Top 5 Benefits To The HealthCare Organization

1. EBP in nursing helps promote consistent care to patients based on evidence-driven research findings.
2. With the use of evidence-based practice in nursing, more favorable patient outcomes are achieved, resulting in increased patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction scores are important to healthcare organizations because they impact reimbursement from financial institutions.
3. When implemented properly, evidence-based practices in nursing can reduce the demand for healthcare resources, making it possible to allocate resources where they will be most effective.
4. Evidence-based practices in nursing help reduce healthcare costs by utilizing relevant research to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment options for patients.
5. Healthcare organizations benefit from evidence-based nursing interventions by having knowledgeable nurses, capable of understanding and implementing the best methods of patient care for clients.

10 Strategies Nursing Schools Employ To Teach Evidence-Based Practices

The methods employed by nursing schools to teach evidence-based practice in nursing vary among colleges, universities, and the nurse educators who work for them. Some of the strategies nursing instructors use to help students learn and implement evidence-based practices include the following.

1. Assigning Case Studies:

Because evidence-based nursing is based on research, it is not uncommon for nursing instructors to assign students case studies. In this situation, the student may be given a mock patient profile and asked to come up with a patient care plan based on scientifically-supported evidence-based practices.

2. Journal clubs:

The purpose of journal clubs is to enhance the nurse/nursing student’s knowledge and understanding of research processes and strengthen their ability to synthesize and appraise research studies.

3. Clinical Presentations:

Perhaps the most common strategy used by nursing schools to teach evidence-based practice is hands-on clinical training experiences. In clinical presentations, students have the chance to do research and present their findings to instructors and/or their peer group and discuss suggested methods for implementing patient care.

4. Quizzes:

Nursing instructors often create quizzes or tests with suggested patient situations and have students choose the most appropriate answer, including their rationale for why their answers are correct. Quizzes allow students time to think about the information presented and hone their critical-thinking and decision-making skills.

5. On-Campus Laboratory Intensives:

Nursing students spend a great deal of time in campus laboratories where they learn hands-on skills. Nurse educators may use opportunities in the lab to allow students to demonstrate ways they would implement EBP in the clinical setting. This option for teaching evidence-based practice is beneficial as it offers a safe environment for students to learn and no risk to patient safety as students learn.

6. Creating Small Work Groups:

Small group learning is known as an effective learning-teaching approach in nursing education. In these groups, students learn with and from one another. They develop communication and critical thinking skills which are necessary for every aspect of nursing care.

7. Interactive Lectures:

An interactive lecture in nursing school is a didactic presentation of information during which the instructor uses an activity to promote the student’s engagement with the course content. These activities are sometimes referred to as engagement triggers. Their purpose is to capture and keep the student’s attention and offer techniques for how students can apply what they have learned. Studies indicate interactive lectures are instrumental in helping students retain information long-term.

8. Teaching Research Methods:

Although we live in a technology-savvy day and time, not everyone has the same experiences when it comes to knowing how to access research and data. Nursing instructors can make use of sources like campus computer labs to teach students how to access online sources of data and information and how to validate their findings.

9. Requiring Collaboration with a Clinical Preceptor:

The most effective way to learn and retain information is to be actively involved. As a nursing instructor, I believe the nurses at clinical sites are valuable sources of knowledge and information for students. Nursing instructors can utilize clinical preceptors to help enforce the students’ understanding of evidence-based practices. One way to do this is to require students to have an end-of-shift report with the instructor and classmates where they discuss the activities of their day, including ways EBP were, or should have been, used.

10. Research Papers:

Some nursing instructors find that giving students specific research assignments helps them develop the skills necessary to perform relevant searches, validate, information, and develop care plans for clients.

What Are The 5 Main Skills Required For Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

Nurses learn several skills essential to providing high-quality, safe patient care. There are several skills that are useful for EBP in nursing. The following are five main skills required to implement evidence-based practice in nursing.

1. Critical Thinking:

Evidence-based practices in nursing require having the ability to evaluate data logically and weigh the evidence.

2. Scientific Mindset:

Being scientifically minded means the nurse has a willingness to engage in research and inquiry. It involves not only empirical literature, but consideration of evidence as its available from patients, healthcare professionals, and research.

3. Effective Written and Verbal Communication:

Solid, valid research involves utilizing various sources of information. Therefore, nurses must learn to effectively communicate with others.

4. Ability to Identify Knowledge Gaps:

A knowledge gap is the difference between evidence and actual policy-making or clinical practice. Nurses must identify knowledge gaps and implement measures to help reduce or eliminate the gaps.

5. Ability to Integrate Findings into Practice Relevant to the Patient’s Problem:

Finding research data and discussing the information with patients and the interdisciplinary team is not the only part of EBP. Nurses must integrate those findings into practice in ways that are most beneficial to the patient and aimed at helping resolve the patient’s issues.

What Are 5 Main Components Of Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

Evidence-based practice in nursing involves several components such as creating answerable clinical questions, using resources to find the best evidence to answer the clinical question(s), assessing the validity and usefulness of the evidence, deciding whether to apply results of the research into practice, and evaluating the effectiveness of the plan. Below is a detailed explanation of the 5 main components of evidence-based practice in nursing.

1. Clinical Expertise:

The nurse’s clinical experience, education level, and licensure determine their scope of practice. The scope of practice dictates activities the nurse may undertake within their body of knowledge and based upon education, clinical training, and competency. Strong clinical reasoning and decision-making skills and research competency are essential components needed to understand and implement EBP in nursing.

2. Management of Patient Values, Circumstances, and Wants When Deciding to Utilize Evidence for Patient Care:

A key component of evidence-based practices in nursing is consideration of the client’s wants, needs, and values. Nurses must consider all aspects of the patient’s individuality to provide best practice care. This means incorporating the client’s personal, religious, and cultural preferences when developing a care plan based on EBP. Evidence regarding benefits and risk factors should be disclosed to the patient or responsible party so they can make an informed decision about care.

By disclosing information and allowing the patient/family to be involved in decision-making, the nurse promotes a therapeutic alliance between themselves and the patients, which aligns with the fundamental principle of evidenced-based practice in nursing, “the integration of good evidence with clinical expertise and patient values.”

3. Practice Management:

Practice management related to EBP in nursing is a combination of the clinical experiences of the nursing care team, research evidence, and interdisciplinary collaborative efforts to create strategic plans for implementing effective patient care plans.

4. Decision-Making:

Evidence-based decision-making is the approach to patient care based on patient preferences, the nurse’s clinical experience, and research evidence within the context of validated resources.

5. Integration of Best Available Evidence:

The final component of evidence-based practices in nursing is the act of integrating best available research evidence into clinical practice.


Providing safe, high-quality care requires the use of viable evidence, upon which a foundation for practice can be established. Many EBP interventions are preventive, meaning when the nurse uses these practices, it is with the goal of preventing complications, as demonstrated in the 10 evidence-based practice in nursing examples below.

1. Elevating the head of a patient’s bed between 30 and 45 degrees

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, elevating the body from the waist up helps support the airway, preventing collapse. Elevating the head of the bed reduces the risk of aspiration and ventilator-associated pneumonia. This evidenced-based nursing practice is a preventive intervention.

2. Implementing measures to reduce impaired skin integrity

Maintaining skin integrity in hospitalized or immobile patients is one of the most critical goals of nurses. Compromised skin integrity is challenging clinically and financially, often leading to extended hospital stays, increasing the cost of individual healthcare services, and placing a burden upon community and acute care organizations. One example of evidence-based practice in nursing is to implement measures to reduce these risks including turning and repositioning patients at least every two hours, using heel and elbow protectors, and keeping skin clean and dry.

3. Implementing techniques to improve infection control practices

Nurses play an essential role in helping prevent the spread of illness and infections. Utilizing evidence-based infection control measures including wearing personal protective equipment, practicing proper hand hygiene and keeping the healthcare environment clean are just a few ways that have proven effective in preventing the spread of infections, promoting positive patient outcomes, and reducing healthcare costs.

4. Administering oxygen to a client with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Studies show long-term use of supplemental oxygen greatly improves the survival rate of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

5. Avoiding frequently scheduled ventilator circuit changes

It is not uncommon for humidified gases to condense in the circuitry of ventilators, thus increasing the risk of them becoming contaminated. Because manipulation of ventilator tubing can cause contaminated secretions to enter the bronchial tree, frequent scheduled ventilator circuit changes can increase the risk of ventilator-acquired pneumonia.

6. Updating Methods for Bathing Inpatient Bedbound Clients

The previously held tradition of bathing bedbound patients included the use of a basin, soap, and water. However, according to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, this is no longer the recommended standard of practice.

The AACN has established updated evidence-based nursing protocols related to bathing adult bedbound patients. AACN senior director, Ramon Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, reports that “current evidence tells us that even such a routine activity as bathing bedbound patients must be updated to reduce the risks to and increase the benefit to the patient.”

Research now indicates that providing daily bathing for bedbound patients, using rinse-free pH balanced cleansers, prepackaged bathing products including skin emollients, and disposable, prepackaged washcloths with a two percent solution of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) helps reduce the risk of colonization of specific bacteria associated with multi-drug resistance. Implementing these evidence-based practices in nursing also increases patient comfort and reduces healthcare costs associated with infections brought on by multi-drug resistant bacteria.

7. Performing Appropriate Patient Assessments Before and After Administering Medication

An evidence-based practice in nursing example that cannot be stressed enough is the need to perform thorough, appropriate assessments before administering any medication to a client.

For example, patients prescribed certain heart medications should have a blood pressure and pulse measurement performed before the medication is given. By using this EBP nursing intervention, nurses may determine if it is safe to administer the medication or if it should be held and the physician notified.

8. Restricting the use of urinary catheterizations, when possible

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are the most common healthcare-associated infection. Evidence indicates infections resulting from overuse of urinary catheters are related to increased client morbidity, longer hospital stays, and increased healthcare costs.

The three areas of evidence-based interventions to reduce the use of CAUTIs include preventing inappropriate short-term catheter use, urinary catheter care during catheter replacement, and nurse-driven timely removal of urinary catheters.

9. Encouraging well-balanced diets as soon as possible for children with gastrointestinal symptoms

At one time, the BRAT (bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast) diet was a popular dietary recommendation for children with gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, because the BRAT diet is low in nutrients necessary for health and healing, it is no longer the priority recommendation. Instead, evidence shows when children are suffering from GI issues, staying hydrated is the priority, followed by progression to the child’s regular diet as soon as tolerable. Nurses can implement EBP in nursing by educating parents on the importance of hydration and balanced dietary intake.

10. Implementing and Educating Patients About Safety Measures at Home and in Healthcare Facilities

Evidence-based research includes data about measures that promote patient safety. Using research findings that support the enforcement of safety measures helps improve patient outcomes, reduce the risk of injury, and reduces healthcare costs.

An intervention as simple as educating a home health patient about measures to prevent falls and injuries can make a significant difference in their risks. For example, unsecured, loose rugs are recognized as an environmental hazard that may contribute to falls and injuries. Nurses can use the evidence of falls associated with area rugs to educate patients about the importance of securing rugs or removing them altogether to increase safety.


There are several steps involved in using evidence-based nursing practice. The following steps are the primary steps all nurses should follow when implementing EBP concepts in nursing.

Step #1: Assessing the Patient and Developing Clinical Questions:

When providing patient care, nurses are often faced with complex questions and lack clear answers. EBP in nursing should begin with assessing the patient and developing answerable clinical questions. The question should focus on the immediate problem at hand and be answerable by proven data and research. The PICO format is the recommended format for developing an answerable clinical question. PICO acronym stands for Patient/Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome).

Step #2: Finding Relevant Evidence to Answer the Clinical Question:

After developing a clinical question or questions, the next step is to search for relevant clinical evidence to help answer the question. Keep in mind that, although there are several sources of information which may be helpful, some sources are disorganized, out-of-date, or do not align with current best nursing practices. Therefore, it is essential for nurses to seek out reliable evidence.

A few sources nurses may find helpful include online electronic bibliographic databases, the Department of Health and Human Sources, National Institutes of Health, and the National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus Connect, for example, is a free service that allows healthcare organizations to link electronic health records and patient portals to MedlinePlus and produces up-to-date information and resources for patients, nurses, and other healthcare providers.

Step #3: Acquire Evidence and Validate Its Relevance to the Patient’s Specific Situation:

After conducting research and finding relevant evidence, the next step is to verify the validity of the evidence. This step is crucial because, although there are many resources and available data, the quality of the information is variable. Nurses must seek reliable, valid evidence to put into practice to help reduce the risk of patient harm and the waste of resources.

Step #4: Appraise the Quality of Evidence and Decide Whether to Apply the Evidence:

Performing research and gathering data is followed up by determining the validity and applicability of the information gathered. Validity refers to how close to the truth the data is, and applicability relates to the information’s usefulness in clinical practice.

If the evidence is determined valid and is relevant to the patient’s condition, it then becomes necessary to decide whether to use the evidence for the patient’s care. The decision to use the evidence gathered should consider the patient’s wishes and potential outcomes, as well as the cost and availability of the desired treatment.

Step #5: Apply the Evidence to Patient Care:

After gathering information and verifying its validity and applicability, it is time to integrate the evidence into clinical practice. Keep in mind, the patient’s preference should be of utmost importance when determining a plan of care.

Step #6: Evaluating Effectiveness of the Plan:

Like the Nursing Process, which includes the step of evaluation, nurses must evaluate their EBP in nursing approach at frequent intervals. All nursing interventions should be evaluated to determine if outcomes were favorable or if a change in the care plan is necessary. During this step of evidence-based practice in nursing, the patient’s response to treatment and the nurse’s performance are carefully considered.

Monitoring the effectiveness of the plan will determine whether there is an improvement in the patient’s status, supporting the evidence-based practice approach to patient care.

10 Major Challenges Nurses Face In The Implementation Of Evidence-Based Practice

Although the concept of evidence-based practice in nursing is not new, nurses still face challenges when it comes to implementing EBP. The following are examples of ten major challenges nurses face in implementing evidence-based practice.

1. Not Understanding the Importance of the Impact of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing:

Perhaps the most significant challenge to implementing EBP in nursing is the nurse’s lack of understanding about how important evidence-based findings are in relation to patient care.

2. Fear of Not Being Accepted:

In facilities where nurses feel their practices are different from the organizational or practice culture, they may feel apprehensive about introducing and implementing evidence-based practices in nursing. This challenge often arises when nurses change jobs or move to a different specialty area and are not well-established.

3. Negative attitudes about research and evidence-based practice in nursing and its impact on patient outcomes:

Although the implementation of EBP has grown in recent years, some nurses continue to have difficulty appreciating its importance and impact on patients and the profession. Some sources indicate this challenge is most common among older nurses accustomed to following traditional care methods instead of pursuing evidence-based research.

4. Lack of knowledge on how to carry out research:

Many nurses do not know how to carry out effective research, which leads to ineffective implementation of EBP in nursing. Although many nursing programs require students to perform research for some classes, these assignments are not typically considered “in-depth” studies. Unfortunately, it is estimated that less than 15% of nursing graduates had a thorough understanding of how to use research, which makes implementing evidence-based practices challenging.

5. Resource constraints within a healthcare organization:

Nurses need access to adequate research sources such as books, journals, and other credible research findings or sources. However, one of the most significant challenges nurses face in the implementation of evidence-based practice in nursing is the lack of resources from which they can gather data. Overcoming this challenge will require employer efforts to make sure nurses have readily available access to up-to-date information.

6. Work overload:

Several reasons contribute to nurses feeling overloaded at work. The most pressing is the current nursing shortage in the United States and abroad. Though the profession experiences periodic shortages, since the COVID-19 pandemic shortages have significantly increased. Work overload that results from callouts and increased numbers of patients requiring nursing care can leave nurses feeling as if there is no time to conduct the proper research necessary to effectively implement evidence-based practices in nursing.

7. Inaccurate or Incomplete Research Findings:

Unfortunately, data may be reported differently from one source to the next. Inaccurate or incomplete findings can be confusing for nurses, making it difficult to identify which EBP in nursing to utilize. Discrepancies in findings can leave nurses feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, which often results in a lack of interest in pursuing ways to implement these practices.

8. Patient Demands Do Not Align with Evidence-Based Practices in Nursing:

It is not uncommon for patients seeking healthcare services to come with preconceived ideas about which treatment may be most effective.

9. Lack of Internet Access While in the Clinical Setting:

Implementing evidence-based practices in nursing requires research. To perform adequate research, nurses need access to up-to-date information. In the clinical setting, nursing may not have access to the internet, even for research purposes, which could make implementing EBP challenging.

10. Some Nursing Supervisors/Managers May Not Support the Concept of Evidence-Based Nursing Practices:

Lack of support for EBP may occur for a few reasons. Some nurses, especially older nurses, express feeling comfortable with doing things the way they did before evidence-based practice became well-known. Others simply feel the time required to perform research could be better spent offering face-to-face care to clients. Either way, this can create a bit of a challenge when attempting to implement evidence-based practices in nursing.

12 Ways Nurse Leaders Can Promote Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing

Nurse leaders are in a position to strengthen, not only their teams, but the profession altogether. With a clear understanding of what evidence-based practice for nurses means and how to implement EBP in daily practice, nurse leaders can help improve patient outcomes, increase employee and patient satisfaction rates, and promote the profession of nursing. The following is a list of 12 ways nurse leaders can actively promote evidence-based practices among their teams.

1. Be open-minded when nurses on your teams make suggestions.

Nurse leaders can promote evidence-based practice in nursing by listening to the ideas of nurses on their teams.

2. Mentor other nurses.

Experienced nurse leaders can promote and strengthen evidence-based practices within their teams by offering their expertise and clinical experiences to mentor others.

3. Support and promote opportunities for educational growth.

Offering educational opportunities to strengthen EBP in nursing is another way nurse leaders can help promote evidence-based practices in nursing.

4. Ask for increased resources.

Nurse leaders and supervisors often have access to the people responsible for making big decisions, including what resources are available to staff and when. You can use your connections with those who make administrative decisions to advocate for increased resources through which nurses can obtain solid, information.

5. Be research-oriented.

When nurses have a good nurse leader, they tend to mimic their behavior. Therefore, if you want to promote EBP in nursing within your team, you need to be research-oriented. Let your team see you putting the work in to find the best solutions based on evidence and positive patient outcomes.

6. Think of ways to make your work environment research-friendly.

Work with other leaders to create an innovative work environment that utilizes research data.

7. Promote EBP competency by offering strategy sessions with staff.

While some nurses find it easy to approach leaders with new ideas, others may need a bit of prompting. Be the kind of nurse leader who creates opportunities for nurses to strategize and develop ideas and care plans that reflect evidence-based practices and competencies.

8. Stay up-to-date about healthcare issues and research.

Nursing is an ever-evolving industry. Success takes putting forth effort to stay knowledgeable about healthcare, research, and treatment trends. It is especially important for nurse leaders to have current, verifiable information so they can guide effective teams.

9. Actively use information to demonstrate EBP within your team.

Even if others are not as active using evidence-based practices as you, you can demonstrate competence and promote positive patient and organizational outcomes by using EBP. The old saying, “The team is only as strong as their coach,” is something you can refer to when you feel alone. Remember, your priority is to promote safe, effective, high-quality nursing care provided by your team.

10. Create opportunities to reinforce skills.

When nurse leaders create an atmosphere conducive to learning, they have a safe environment in which they can evaluate evidence before implementing measures in patient care.

11. Develop templates or other written tools that support evidence-based decision-making.

It is especially important for nursing teams to work well together and to practice within a familiar format or context. As a nurse leader, you can develop templates that nurses can follow when going through the EBP in nursing steps. These templates or tools can help ensure all the steps are followed so a solid plan of action can be developed.

12. Review evidence for its relevance to your organization.

Opportunities to promote evidence-based practices for nurses are often identified through evaluation and review of evidence data. Once you appraise the evidence, you can decide which strategies are most likely to improve patient outcomes and strengthen your organization and incorporate them.

BONUS! 8 Top Suggestions From A Nurse To Improve Your Evidence-Based Practices In Nursing

1. Subscribe to nursing journals.

Nursing journals offer a wealth of information about important topics affecting patients, nurses, and the profession. When new studies indicate promise, you can expect to see information about it featured in some of the top nursing journals.

2. Offer to be involved with research studies.

Depending on where you work, there may be opportunities to participate in research. If there are opportunities, get involved. It’s one thing to read about research and something totally different, and personal, when you can actively be part of it.

3. Be intentional about learning.

To be effective, nurses must be lifelong learners. If you want to improve evidence-based practice in your career, take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow.

4. Find a mentor.

One of the best sources of information in nursing is from more experienced nurses. Although evidence-based practice is based on scientific evidence that has been validated, that does not mean experience should be discarded. Find a nurse with more experience who is open to taking you under their wing and mentoring you. Take advantage of opportunities to ask questions and learn as much as possible from them.

5. Ask questions!

When nurses work together to get to the source of a problem and find solutions, their efforts benefit everyone. Do not be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t get answers right away, keep asking and searching.

6. Attend nursing workshops and conferences.

There are endless opportunities available for nurses willing to grow professionally. Look for local workshops to attend. Register for local and national nursing conferences. The wealth of knowledge you can gain from these events can have long-standing positive impacts on you and your patients.

7. Join professional nursing organizations.

Professional nursing associations and organizations offer resources for current nursing and healthcare information. They also serve as a source for professional networking where many nurses find mentors and friends who work in the same specialties. These relationships can be beneficial as nurses learn from one another. The American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing (NLN), International Council of Nurses, and the American Academy of Nurses are some of the most well-known professional nursing organizations.

8. Be honest with yourself about your ability to independently implement evidence-based practice in nursing.

Let’s face it... We all have strengths and weaknesses. If you are unsure of the best way to use EBP, speak up. Talk to your nursing supervisor and ask for ideas or advice. It is not about who knows more but more about who is willing to do whatever it takes to learn to be competent and provide the best patient care possible.

Useful Resources To Stay Up To Date With Evidence-Based Practices In Nursing

As you continue to learn about EBP in nursing, there are several resources you can use for information. The following are links to professional organizations and associations, nursing journals, blogs/websites, YouTube videos, and podcasts offering information about evidence-based practice in nursing.

Professional Organizations & Associations

American Nurses Association: The ANA is composed of the American Nurses Association, American Nurses Foundation, and American Nurses Credentialing center. These organizations work together to achieve the vision of the ANA and advance its mission.

American Nurses Credentialing Center: The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is a division of the American Nurses Association. The ANCC offers credentialing programs so nurses can become certified in specialty practice areas.


Lippincott Nursing Center: Lippincott Nursing Center hosts more than seventy nursing journals and resources for continuing professional development based on evidence-based practices.

Evidence-Based Nursing: Evidence-Based Nursing searches international healthcare journals to verify the validity of research and to determine its relevance to best nursing practices.


Evidence-Based Nursing Blog: Here, you will find weekly blog posts discussing evidence-based practices for nurses. The blog also offers links and comments about research and health-related issues of interest to nurses.

Johns Hopkins Medicine: The Johns Hopkins website offers valuable information reflecting current trends in nursing and patient care.

YouTube Videos

Evidence-Based Practice: In this video, you will learn how information is classified on the evidence-based practice spectrum for nursing information sources.

Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice: This YouTube video offers a short introduction to evidence-based practice in nursing, including the steps necessary to use EBP.

Evidence-Based Practice- Improving Practice, Improving Outcomes: Anne Woods, Chief Nurse for Wolters Kluwer Health, Ovid and Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, explains the principles of EBP in nursing.


Evidence-Based Practice- Igniting a Spirit of Inquiry: Podcast host, Maureen “Shawn” Kennedy, interviews Ellen Fineout-Overholt and Bernadette MeInyk about evidence-based practice in their healthcare institutions.

Evidence-Based Practice: The Seven Steps of Evidence-Based Practice: Editorial director for the American Journal of Nursing, Shawn Kennedy, discusses the Seven Steps of Evidence-Based Practice with her guests.

EBP QuickStart- Why Is Evidence-Based Practice So Important for Nursing?: Holly Chignolli (OSU Wexner Medical Center) and Saman5than Warren (Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital) discuss the important role of nurses in using research findings to improve patient and healthcare organization outcomes.


Johns Hopkins Evidence-Based Practice for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals: This book offers up-to-date content about evidence-based practice in nursing, with examples of real-life settings, and feedback from nurses and other healthcare providers.

Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing- Foundations, Skills, and Roles: Author, Thomas L. Christenbery, Ph.D., RN, CNE, presents key content on the concepts of EBP with examples demonstrating positive and negative evidence-based practice applications. The book is designed for use by nursing students in any program and nurses of all degree levels.

Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing: From this book, readers can gain a comprehensive understanding of statistics in each aspect of clinical nursing practice and diverse healthcare settings. Readers learn to interpret and evaluate statistical findings and use those findings in clinical practice.

My Final Thoughts

Throughout this article, we have addressed the question, “What is evidence-based practice in nursing?” EBP is essential as it aims to provide effective, relevant care focused on improving patient outcomes and strengthening the nursing profession. Understanding evidence-based practice in nursing + 10 examples, like those featured in this article, is crucial for the success of nurses.


1. What Did Nurses Do Before Evidence-Based Practice?

Before EBP in nursing was introduced, nurses carried out approaches to care based on traditional methods and personal experiences. Nurses took advice from nurse managers and supervisors and exercised methods that were effective with previous patients to care for new patients.

2. How Did Florence Nightingale Use Evidence-Based Practice?

Florence Nightingale used evidence to reveal the etiology of infections in hospitals and on the battlefield. Nightingale used the data she collected and statistics to work with the British government to make improvements in healthcare delivery.

3. What Is The Main Limitation Of Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

The main limitation of evidence-based practice in nursing is the amount of time it takes to implement evidentiary findings into nursing practice. It can take fifteen to twenty years before evidence is adopted for use in nursing practice.

4. What Are The Common Misconceptions About Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

There are several misconceptions about evidence-based practices in nursing. Perhaps the most common misconception is that EBP is based on any “reasonable” evidence. Evidence-based practice in nursing is based on the best available evidence, backed by scientific research and validation.

5. Are All Types Of Nurses Required To Use Evidence-Based Knowledge In Their Nursing Practice?

EBP in nursing is essential for the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care. Nurses must be aware of current nursing practices and research related to practice. The higher a nurse’s degree level, the more responsibility they will have, including a responsibility to advocate for EBP in patient care.

6. Will Lack Of Evidence-Based Knowledge Impact My Nursing Career?

Lack of evidence-based knowledge can impact your nursing career. Patients expect to receive the most effective care available. As vital members of the healthcare team, part of the nurse’s responsibility is to provide professional service based on the best, most up-to-date information.

7. I Do Not Have Access To Research Databases, How Do I Improve My Evidence-Based Practice In Nursing?

Although we live in a technologically advanced society, not everyone has the same access to resources. Don’t fret, though! You can still improve your evidence-based nursing practice. Join professional nursing organizations, subscribe to journals, take continuing education classes on evidence-based practice for nurses, and find a mentor. These are just a few ways you can help improve your EBP skills.

7. Are There Different Levels Of Evidence-Based Practices In Nursing?

There are different levels of evidence-based practices in nursing. According to Johns Hopkins Evidence-Based Practice Model, there are five levels of EBP, as follows:

• Level One: Meta-analysis of random clinical trials and experimental studies
• Level Two: Quasi-experimental studies- These are focused studies used to evaluate interventions.
• Level Three: Non-experimental or qualitative studies.
• Level Four: Opinions of nationally recognized experts based on research.
• Level Five: Opinions of individual experts based on non-research evidence such as literature reviews, case studies, organizational experiences, and personal experiences.

8. How Can I Assess My Evidence-Based Knowledge In Nursing Practice?

You can assess your knowledge of evidence-based practices in nursing by ensuring you follow the steps of EBP. Make sure you follow the 5 A’s of Evidence Based Practice in Nursing: Ask, Access, Appraise, Apply, and Audit.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).