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Phillips School of Nursing Information Commons: Evidence Based Medicine in Nursing

What's the Difference Between Evidence-Based Practice & Evidence-Based Nursing?

What is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)? 

Evidence-Based Practice is a conscientious and problem-solving approach of using current best evidence from well-designed studies, patient values, and preferences, plus the clinician's expertise to make informed decisions on a patient's care. The EBP process is a method that allows the practitioner to assess evidence-based research, clinical guidelines, and other information resources based on high-quality findings and apply these results to practice.

What is Evidence-Based Nursing? 

Definitions of evidence-based nursing have varied in scholarly literature. While researching, it is easy to confuse evidence-based practice (EBP), evidence-based medicine (EBM), and evidence-based nursing (EBN) terminology. Authors Scott & McSherry (2009) clear up these terms in their article on "Evidence-Based Nursing: clarifying the concepts for nurses in practice." They state that evidence-based nursing is "an ongoing process by which evidence, nursing theory, and the practitioners’ clinical expertise are critically evaluated and considered, in conjunction with patient involvement, to provide delivery of optimum nursing care for the individual." Donna Ciliska further clarifies in the article Evidence-Based Nursing: how far have we come? What's next? stating "evidence-based nursing is the incorporation of the best research evidence along with patient preferences, the clinical setting, and circumstances, and healthcare resources into decisions about patient care." 

Scott, K. & McSherry, R. Evidence-Based Nursing: clarifying the concepts for nurses in practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing 2009; 18(8): 1085-95

Ciliska, D. Evidence-based nursing: how far have we come? What’s next? 

Why Evidence Based Nursing?

Evidence-based nursing is one approach that may enable nurses to embrace both research literature and new technology (like clinical mobile applications) on top of standard patient care, which can ultimately result in improved patient outcomes. 

Evidence-based nursing allows nurses to enrich both their clinical training and real-world experience with the most up-to-date research. With the large amount of research and information that exists in nursing, learning the skills of evidence-based medicine allows nurses to search for, assess, and apply the current literature to their clinical situations and improve clinical decision making, ultimately providing a more positive patient experience. 

Nurses' approach to evidence-based practice may differ from the standard medical model. Typically, nurses are committed to providing holistic "whole-health" care to patients. 

Learn more about how this applies through a series of articles from the American Journal of Nursing (AAJN) on their webpage: Evidence-Based Practice Step-By-Step. 

Evidence-Based Nursing as a 5-Step Process

The 5 "A's" will help you to remember the EBN process:

  1. ASK:  Information needs from practice are converted into focused, structured questions. (See PICO guide)
  2. ACQUIRE: The focused questions are used as a basis for literature searching in order to identify relevant external evidence from research (CINAHL/PubMed/Books/Journals/other databases). 
  3. APPRAISE:  The research evidence is critically appraised for validity (view a tutorial on how to appraise literature 
  4. APPLY: The best available evidence is used alongside clinical expertise and the patient's perspective to plan care.
  5. ASSESS:  Performance is evaluated through a process of self-reflection, audit, or peer assessment.

Conklin, J. (n.d.). LibGuides: Nursing: Evidence-Based Nursing. Retrieved July 8, 2020, from

Evidence Based Medicine Databases & Resources