Evidence-based nursing

Evidence-based nursing focuses on observational studies to improve methodological quality and effectiveness of intervention. There is currently a vast amount on information regarding the incidence and prevalence of healthcare-related infections, as well as mortality data. Unfortunately, these significant figures are not efficiently disseminated and more importantly, not integrated into the general protocol of healthcare, because they have not been discovered by healthcare personnel for their own perusal and for integration into their routine services.

Health care informatics is a recent area that involves the integration of health science, computer science, information science and cognitive science to assist in the management of healthcare information (Saba and McCormick, 2001). By using the statistical information offered by these different fields of science, healthcare informatics may be divided into the areas of medical informatics, health informatics, dental informatics and nursing informatics.

The areas of medical, dental and nursing informatics overlap in several areas such as information retrieval, clinical care, ethics, imaging, computer security, electronic medical records and computer-assisted instruction. The use of statistical information via informatics has been used in the field of nursing for more than two decades and has resulted in the establishment of the specialty field of nursing informatics. Such area uses information technologies in relation to functions carried out when performing their duties (Hannah, 1985).

It covers the entire range of information technology that is useful to nursing, especially that for patient care, nursing practice and healthcare management. It essentially helps in the processing of nursing data, knowledge and information to aid in nursing practice and delivery of health care. A parallel global scheme has existed for clinical trials, namely the Cochrane Collaboration as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Reproductive Health and Research, that aim to provide a comprehensive tabulation of available data on their specific fields of investigation.

Such reviews also aim to calculate case-fatality rates and proportion of preventable deaths by specific interventions. The development of a search and retrieval strategies using statistical information should be sensitive and specific enough because there is so much information available in the databases and internet sources that it would seem very difficult for a healthcare personnel to sieve through all the unnecessary and irrelevant entries.

Databases are technically pools of information that may be useful should the right search results be presented to the investigator, or these may be useless if the investigator ends up with more confusion than when he just started using the database. Statistical information that has been pooled into a central registry may serve as a convenient and systematic resource for retrieval of medical information that is very useful for critical care management in the healthcare setting. Two of the most recognized and employed database in the medical field are MEDLINE and EMBASE.

Both are universal bibliographical records of primary literature, with MEDLINE covering mostly North American publications, while EMBASE covers more European reports. Unfortunately, these two databases only have 30 to 50% overlap in their entries (Topfer, 1999). Unfortunately, databases employing evidence-based practice do not include unpublished reports, either because the investigators assumed that nobody else would be interested in looking at their data or because the investigators thought that a report that shows no significant differences is not worth publishing.

In addition, non-English reports are not included in most of the databases due to language restrictions, yet these types of reports usually show statistically significant results as well as larger treatment effects. CINAHL is another database that healthcare practitioners, especially nurses, utilize for information on patient care and delivery. It has been very useful in medical specialties including descriptive and explanatory information on nursing topics.

The employment of statistical information as applied to nursing care is highly interdisciplinary, with certain areas overlapping with computer science and education. Nursing informatics provides a direct route to information connecting nursing informatics to research, especially evidence-based practice, and this provides a quicker mode for nursing to gather information on specific patient cases. In the earlier days, a healthcare practitioner needs to read a lot of research reports, journals and books in order to be up-to-date with the latest trends in health care diagnosis, treatment and delivery.

The use of statistical knowledge and information as directly applied to evidence-based nursing provides a quicker way to access so much information that is available around the globe. It also saves times for the healthcare practitioner in researching for answers to their healthcare questions, leaving them more time to provide quality health care to their patients. In addition, the networking and establishment of databases serves as an essential tool to the construction of virtual global hospitals, wherein doors do not exist, but actually bridges are erected.


Hannah KJ, Guillemin EJ and Conklin DN, eds. (1985): Nursing uses of computer and information science. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science, 1985. Saba VK and McCormick KA (2001): Essentials of computers for nursing: informatics for the new millennium. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Topfer LA, Parada A, Menon D, Noorani H, Perras C, Serra-Prat M (1999): Comparison of literature searches on quality and costs for health technology assessment using the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases. Int. J. Technol. Assess. Health Care 15:297-303.

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Evidence-based nursing practice is defined as the “conscientious, explicit and judicious use of theory-driven, research-based information in making decisions about care delivery to individuals or groups of patients and in consideration of individual needs and preferences” (Ingersoll, 2000). Evidence-based nursing, …

Evidence-based practice (EBP) can be seen throughout history dating back to the mid 19th century when Florence Nightingale gathered research to improve the quality of care provided to patients while analyzing hospital data (Miller, Ward & Young, 2010). EBP has …

Nursing informatics is not about the use of computers, it is not about the use of gadgets or use of technology. It is about the use of this technology to manage information in the most efficient way. Thus, nursing information …

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