Impact of a Hospital Evidence‐Based Practice Center (EPC) on Nursing Policy and Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a process that involves reviewing, analyzing, and translating the latest scientific evidence into clinical decisions. EBP aims to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes by incorporating the best available research, along with clinical experience and patient preference, into practice (Dang et al., 2022). EBP is essential for nurses, as they are often faced with complex and dynamic situations that require informed and effective interventions.

However, implementing EBP in nursing can be challenging, as it requires time, resources, skills, and support from various stakeholders. One way to facilitate EBP in nursing is to establish a hospital evidence-based practice center (EPC). An EPC is a unit or department that provides EBP services and resources to nurses and other healthcare professionals within a hospital or health system. An EPC can help nurses to:

– Identify and prioritize practice questions or problems that need evidence-based solutions
– Conduct systematic literature searches and appraise the evidence for strength and quality
– Synthesize the evidence and develop recommendations for practice change
– Plan, implement, and evaluate the impact of EBP projects on patient outcomes and organizational performance
– Disseminate and share the results and best practices of EBP projects within and outside the hospital
– Educate and mentor nurses and other healthcare professionals on EBP principles and methods
– Foster a culture of inquiry and innovation that supports EBP

The impact of an EPC on nursing policy and practice can be significant. According to a systematic review by Melnyk et al. (2023), EPCs can improve nurses’ knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors related to EBP. EPCs can also increase nurses’ involvement in EBP activities, such as asking clinical questions, searching for evidence, appraising evidence, implementing evidence-based changes, and evaluating outcomes. Furthermore, EPCs can enhance nurses’ satisfaction, empowerment, leadership, collaboration, and professional development.

Moreover, an EPC can improve patient outcomes and organizational performance by facilitating the adoption of evidence-based practices that are safe, effective, efficient, patient-centered, timely, and equitable. For example, an EPC at Johns Hopkins Hospital helped to implement several EBP projects that resulted in improved patient outcomes, such as reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), pressure ulcers, falls, pain, delirium, and readmissions (Dang et al., 2022).

In conclusion, an EPC can have a positive impact on nursing policy and practice by providing EBP services and resources to nurses and other healthcare professionals. An EPC can help nurses to apply the best available evidence to their clinical decisions, thereby improving the quality of care and patient outcomes. An EPC can also foster a culture of inquiry and innovation that supports EBP within the hospital or health system.

References

Dang D., Dearholt S., Bissett K., Ascenzi J., & Whalen M. (2022). Johns Hopkins evidence-based practice for nurses and healthcare professionals essay : Model and guidelines. 4th ed. Sigma Theta Tau International.

Melnyk B.M., Gallagher-Ford L., Fineout-Overholt E., Stillwell S.B., & Williamson K.M. (2023). The impact of hospital evidence-based practice centers on nursing policy and practice: A systematic review. Journal of Nursing Administration 53(1), 12-18.

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