This guide explains Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in Nursing using a step-by-step approach. It also suggests featured books and online resources for your reference. Please feel free to explore the guide by clicking on the tabs above.
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What is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in Nursing?

Evidence-based practice in nursing is to integrate clinical expertise with the best available research evidence to make informed decisions in nursing care that suit the patients’ situations and preferences (McKibbon, 1998; Sackett et al., 1996).

Key Steps in EBP

Step Action
1 Forming a clinical research question
2 Searching for evidence
3 Assessing the evidence
4 Making clinical decision

McKibbon, K. A. (1998). Evidence-based practice. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 86(3), 396-401.
Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence-based medicine: What it is and what it isn't. British Medical Journal, 312(7023), 71-72.
Step 1: Question

Step 1  Forming a Clinical Research Question

Health professionals have to formulate a clinical research question to an identified problem of the patients concerned. Consider the following case:

Case Scenario
You are a professional nurse and receive complaint from a patient about having abdominal pain and nausea after the abdominal surgery. A paralytic ileus has been diagnosed. Now, you are in need of conducting research to determine whether there is evidence to suggest that a simple intervention such as chewing gum postoperatively can help ease the problem.

A PICO framework can be used to help you identify the study group and proposed intervention when formulating the research question:
Aspect Question
Population (P) What individual or group do we need to study?
Intervention (I) What is the proposed action / treatment?
Comparison (C) What other action / treatment are we comparing to?
Outcome (O) What do we anticipate as an outcome?
(Source: EBSCO Health)

Research Question
In patients undergoing abdominal surgery, is there evidence to suggest that chewing gum postoperatively compared with not chewing gum can help ease postoperative ileus?
Step 2: Searching

Step 2  Searching for Evidence

Based on the PICO framework, the following keywords can be identified for the search:
Aspect Identified Search Phrases Suggested Keywords
Population (P) Patients undergoing abdominal surgery abdominal surgery
Intervention (I) Chewing gum gum chewing
Comparison (C) Not chewing gum -
Outcome (O) Affecting postoperative ileus postoperative ileus

Conducting Search
When carrying out search, make sure you select appropriate sources and employ various search techniques for relevant results

Sources of Evidence
The following databases consist of e-journal articles that are suitable for topics in medicine and healthcare:
  • MEDLINE with Full Text (EBSCOhost)
  • CINAHL Complete (EBSCOhost)
  • Cochrane Library
  • PubMed Central (PMC)
  • TRIP
  • Nursing and Allied Health Collection (Gale)
  • PsycARTICLES (ProQuest)
  • Internurse (Mark Allen Group)
  • Intermid (Mark Allen Group)

Search Techniques
Boolean Operators (i.e. AND, OR, NOT) can be used to conduct and refine search.
Boolean Operator Function
AND Narrow the search by linking up keywords
OR Broaden the search for results with either keyword and both keywords
NOT Narrow the search by excluding unwanted keywords
  • To generate results that are more specific, add quotation marks around the keywords for searching as a phrase instead of individual words.
  • Use parentheses to group keywords in the search

abdominal surgery” AND “postoperative ileus” AND “gum chewing
(“abdominal surgery” OR “colorectal surgery”) AND “postoperative ileus” AND “gum chewing
colorectal surgery" NOT "abdominal surgery") AND “postoperative ileus” AND “gum chewing
Steps 3: Assessment

Step 3  Assessing the Evidence

After identifying various useful materials, you can start the evaluation process:
  • Evaluate the materials based on a number of criteria, including their currency, relevance and authority
  • Evaluating materials is a critical step for health personnel to make correct judgment and decisions for the patients concerned. Thus, when conducting evaluation, please be patient and prudent.
  • Remove materials that are not relevant to the case or information that you consider vague or inaccurate

For assessment details, please visit Resource Evaluation page.
Steps 4: Decision Making

Step 4  Making Clinical Decision

After all the materials have been assessed as valid, relevant and accurate, an informed clinical decision can be made by taking into account clinical expertise and the patients’ perspective. The better informed you are, the more likely you are able to provide appropriate treatment and high quality care for the patients.
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Books & eBooks

Call no.: RT42 .E45 2023
ISBN: 9781529779707
Publication Year: 2023

This book offers explanation on the concepts and theories of evidence-based practice in nursing and introduces ways in which healthcare professionals can evaluate research evidence to make informed clinical decisions. Practical case studies are also provided.

Ellis, P. (2023). Evidence-based practice in nursing (5th ed.). Learning Matters.

ISBN: 9781975185756
Publication Year: 2023

This book provides a detailed guide on evidence-based practice (EBP) in nursing and healthcare industry. It suggests models in implementing EBP and offers examples in appraising qualitative and quantitative evidence that help make informed decisions on medical care and treatment.

Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2023). Evidence-based practice in nursing and healthcare: A guide to best practice (5th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

Call no.: RT81.5 .B865 2023
ISBN: 9780323826419
Publication Year: 2023

This book focuses on both qualitative and quantitative research in nursing, and examines the ethics involved in conducting the research. Key elements such as research problems, hypotheses, populations and samples as well as data collection methods are explained in detail.

Grove, S. K., Gray, J., & Burns, N. (2023). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (8th ed.). Elsevier.
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Journal of Clinical Nursing

ISSN: 0962-1067 (Print); 1365-2702 (Electronic)

This journal consists of peer-reviewed articles related to all aspects of nursing practice, such as the development of clinical research and evidence-based practice, clinical decision-making, nursing intervention, patient safety and clinical nursing leadership.

Journal of Advanced Nursing

ISSN: 0309-2402 (Print); 1365-2648 (Electronic)

This journal publishes peer-reviewed articles covering different areas of nursing care, including advanced nursing practice, nursing management as well as nursing education and professional development.

International Journal of Nursing Studies

ISSN: 0020-7489

This is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes research articles mainly about healthcare delivery as well as the management and practice in the nursing, midwifery and other healthcare professions.

Journal of Nursing Management

ISSN: 0966-0429 (Print); 1365-2834 (Electronic)

This peer-reviewed journal comprises scholarly articles in nursing management, administration and leadership. It also touches on issues of employment, service quality and patient safety.

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Online Resources
Developed by the Medical Library of Yale University, the webpage provides video tutorials about the formulation of clinical research questions using PICO model and sgguests ways of finding evidence-based information in PubMed.
  Developed by the Medical Center Library of Duke University, the webpage offers step-by-step interactive tutorial videos about evidence-based practice in healthcare that span across 7 modules, from acquiring sources of evidence to appraising them and applying them to relevant cases.
  As a unit of the Department of Primary Care of the Oxford University, the Centre provides professional information of evidence-based medicine and a list of resources to assist health professionals in making informed choices. These resources include PICO guides and critical appraisal worksheets.
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Search Tips
The following table lists the call number ranges of the suggested areas related to Nursing under the Library of Congress (LC) Classification Scheme. You can look for library resources of a particular subject area within these ranges.
Subject Area Subclass
RT1 - 120
Nursing – Specialties in nursing
RT89 - 120
Public aspects of medicine – Public health. Hygiene. Preventive medicine
RA421 - 790.95
Pediatrics – Nursing of children. Pediatric nursing
RJ245 - 247
Human anatomy – General
QM1 - 511
Physiology – General
QP1 - 345
Therapeutics. Pharmacology
RM1 - 950
Pharmacy and materia medica
RS1 - 441
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