Bedside, classroom and bench: Collaborative strategies to generate evidence-based knowledge for nursing practice
The rise of evidence-base practice (EBP) as a standard for care delivery is rapidly emerging as a global phenomenon that is transcending political, economic and geographic boundaries. Evidence-based nursing (EBN) addresses the growing body of nursing knowledge supported by different levels of evidence for best practices in nursing care. Across all health care, including nursing, we face the challenge of how to most effectively close the gap between what is known and what is practiced. There is extensive literature on the barriers and difficulties of translating research findings into practical application. While the literature refers to this challenge as the "Bench to Bedside" lag, this paper presents three collaborative strategies that aim to minimize this gap. The Bedside strategy proposes to use the data generated from care delivery and captured in the massive data repositories of electronic health record (EHR) systems as empirical evidence that can be analysed to discover and then inform best practice. In the Classroom strategy, we present a description for how evidence-based nursing knowledge is taught in a baccalaureate nursing program. And finally, the Bench strategy describes applied informatics in converting paper-based EBN protocols into the workflow of clinical information systems. Protocols are translated into reference and executable knowledge with the goal of placing the latest scientific knowledge at the fingertips of front line clinicians. In all three strategies, information technology (IT) is presented as the underlying tool that makes this rapid translation of nursing knowledge into practice and education feasible.
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