Let Nurses Challenge Evidence-Based Practice

Jennifer Thew, RN, July 11, 2017

Nurse leaders can foster acceptance of evidence-based practice by providing RNs with a process to question changes.

Change is good. But it can also be hard.

This is often the case when nursing procedures are updated to align with evidence-based practice. For all the potential EBP has to improve patient care and outcomes, nurses may still dig in their heels and balk at doing things differently than the way they've always been done.

So what's the secret to getting RNs to embrace EBP? Let them challenge it, says Alison Mason, MS, RN, national director, quality informatics, at Englewood, Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives.

"What I tell people when I do implementations with them is, if people want to challenge a procedure, I welcome that because that is a way of engaging a nurse and looking at evidence and understanding how leveled evidence works," she says.

Practice Must Align with Evidence

Mason speaks from experience. As part of her role at CHI, she focuses on using evidence-based resources and electronic systems, including those for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, to affect change and support practice.

Over the years, she has brought number of facilities (CHI operates in 17 states and comprises 104 hospitals; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; living communities; and other facilities and services along the care continuum) into the EBP-fold.

"Evidence-based practice was one of our destination metrics that was determined a decade ago," she says. "My goal is to help our facilities align with EBP and to help them analyze data in order to meet metrics that we have set as an organization around quality initiatives."

As one would expect, when new facilities come on board, there can be resistance to doing things differently.

"When you're onboarding somebody new, sometimes they'll say, 'That's not how we do it here.' [But] how you insert a nasogastric tube in Lexington, Kentucky should be same way you do it in Tacoma, Washington," Mason says.

Jennifer Thew, RN

Jennifer Thew, RN is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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