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Levy Library Blog

Finding Evidence-Based Nursing Resources Online: Featured Staff Blog Post

by Angelyn Thornton on 2021-04-14T08:30:00-04:00 | Comments


Chelsea Rein, BS, MLIS

Reference and Instruction Librarian, Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai


There are many online resources where nursing professionals can find evidence-based practice information. Evidence-based practice (EBP), known as “judicious use of current best evidence in conjunction with clinical expertise and patient values” is an instrument of great utility in nursing care, helping to reduce both cost and variability in clinical practice. 1,2 Evidence-based Nursing (EBN) integrates best evidence available, nursing expertise, and preferences of individuals, families, and communities in a holistic care model that broadly encompasses patient preferences as well as effectiveness of treatment. EBN is often a five-step systematic process including: asking the clinical question, evidence acquisition, evidence appraisal, evidence-application, and outcome evaluation. 3  It is also known as a 5-step model - Assess, Ask, Acquire, Appraise, and Apply. 4


Asking the Clinical Question:

The first step of the evidence-based nursing process involves taking the clinical issue under consideration and formulating it into a searchable and answerable question. 5 The model which is frequently used for this part of the process is termed “PICO,” containing the following components: 

  • P – Patient or Population or Problem

  • I – Intervention of Interest, Proposed Intervention

  • C – Comparison or Control, (there might be no Intervention)

  • Outcome (Anticipated) 

Also may be included:

  • T – Type of Question (Diagnosis, Prognosis, Therapy etc.) 

  • T – Type of Study Design (RCT, Cohort Study, Case Series etc.)

  • Time 


In adult patients hospitalized in a long-term acute care facility (P), how does the use of a nurse-driven protocol for evaluating the appropriateness of short-term urethral catheter continuation or removal (I), compared with no protocol (C), affect the number of catheter-days (O1) and CAUTI rates (O2) over a six-month post-intervention period (T)? 6

Internet Resources for Creating a Well-Built Clinical Question:


Evidence Acquisition: 

The hierarchy of evidence is a core principle of Evidence-Based Medicine. EBM hierarchies rank study types based on the strength and precision of the research methods done. Most experts consider well done systematic reviews, with or without meta-analysis, to provide the best evidence for all question types. If a current, well designed systematic review is not available, primary studies can sometimes answer a PICO question. 7

The type of PICO question will often dictate the best study design to address the question. For example, a suggested study for a PICO question based on a diagnosis could be a prospective, blind comparison to the gold standard, whereas a PICO question on a therapy intervention could be to use an RCT or Practice Guideline. The EBM Pyramid shown lists a variety of evidence types and levels. The quality of evidence is highest among filtered information and lowest among unfiltered information with degrees of evidence level. 8 


"5S" Levels of Organization of Evidence Pyramid
Integrated “5S” Levels of Organizations of Evidence Based Pyramid 9


Internet Resources for Evidence Acquisition:

Databases – Finding Evidence: 

Using available databases, journals and point-of-care tools are good places to start while looking for evidence. Some databases have items available like evidence-based care sheets (CINAHL) or clinical content synthesized into graded evidence based recommendations (UptoDate). In PubMed, the Clinical Queries page allows you to enter one search query and launch two EBM filters: Clinical Study Categories and Systematic Reviews. Mount Sinai’s Levy Library provides access to a multitude of resources accessible online including databases, clinical mobile apps, e-journals, and e-books. 


Unfiltered Information Systematic Reviews Clinical Content
PubMed The Cochran Library  UptoDate
CINAHL PubMed - Clinical Queries  DynaMed 
PsychINFO TRIP Clinical Key
Scopus    BMJ Best Practice 


Internet Resources for Finding Evidence: 


Appraising Evidence: 

When appraising websites, some important criteria to consider include - authority, accuracy, bias, currency, and comprehension. 10

  • Authority – is the author listed, domain (org, edu, com)?

  • Accuracy – is the information reproducible? 

  • Objectivity - are there any conflicts of interest? Are the goals and aims of the website clear? 

  • Currency – when was the webpage updated? Are the links up to date?

  • Coverage - can you view the information properly? 10 

Critical appraisal worksheets can help guide evidence appraisal among different topics.


Internet Resources for Apprising Evidence:


Applying Evidence:

When you have asked your question, found the evidence, and critically appraised the evidence, it is time to implement that evidence. Implementation of evidence into practice may be challenging and usually involves working out how the results of your research apply to the patient, taking into consideration your own clinical expertise and the patient's situation and preferences. This is sometimes called the "external validity", or "generalizability" of the research results.11


Questions to ask at this stage include:

  • Is the intervention feasible in my setting?

  • What else do I need to apply this evidence?

  • Is my patient similar enough to the subjects of the study so that the results can apply?

  • Will the potential benefits of treatment outweigh any potential harm?

  • What are the views of my patient?11


Internet Resources for Models of Evidence-Based Nursing Practice and Applying Evidence:


Outcome Evaluation:

The final step involves Assessing or “Auditing” the research process. This involves evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the process and practice of evidence-based practice, identifying strengths and weaknesses and ways that it might be improved the next time.12 

Self-reflective questions that might be asked include:

  • Did I ask a well-formulated clinical question?

  • Did I consider the best sources of evidence for the type of clinical question?

  • Have I searched the databases efficiently? 

  • Did I use the hierarchy of evidence as my guide for the type of evidence that I should be searching for?

  • Am I integrating critical appraisal? 12


Internet Resources for Outcome Evaluation:

Other Online Resources for EBM/EBN:



  1. Titler MG. Translating research into practice. Considerations for critical care investigators. Critical care nursing clinics of North America. 2001;13 (4):587–604. Available from:

  2. McGinty J, Anderson G. Predictors of Physician Compliance With American Heart Association Guidelines for Acute Myocardial Infarction. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly. 2008; 31(2). Available from:

  3. Honor L. Resource Guides: Evidence-Based Nursing: Available from:

  4. de Groot M, van der Wouden JM, van Hell EA, Nieweg MB. Evidence-based practice for individuals or groups: let’s make a difference. Perspect Med Educ. 2013 Sep;2(4):216–21.

  5. Rein C. Levy Library Guides: Phillips School of Nursing Information Commons: PICO & Searching. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Available from:

  6. Magers TL. Using evidence-based practice to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Am J Nurs. 2013 Jun;113(6):34–42; quiz 44, 43.

  7. Pinotti R. Levy Library Guides: Evidence Based Medicine Guide: What’s Best: The Evidence Hierarchy. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Available from:

  8. Cantrell S. LibGuides: Evidence-Based Practice: PICO. Available from:

  9. Saylor K. Research Guides: Nursing: Hierarchy of Evidence Resources. Available from: 

  10. Kapoun J. Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction. College & Research Libraries News. 2020; 59 (7). Available from:

  11. Phillips R, Glasziou P. Evidence based practice: the practicalities of keeping abreast of clinical evidence while in training. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2008; 84(995):450–3. 

  12. Ivers N, Jamtvedt G, Flottorp S, Young JM, Odgaard-Jensen J, French SD. Audit and feedback: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes. Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012. Available from:

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