6.1 Analyse how evidence-based practice can be used to inform your practice

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 3: Personal development in health, social care, or children’s and young people’s settings

LO6: Be able to use evidence-based practice

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6.1 Analyse how evidence-based practice can be used to inform your practice

“Evidence-based practice is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individuals. It involves integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.”

The above definition shows that EBP can be used by anyone who is responsible for providing care to another person for them to have the best experience possible. This may include a clinical decision made by a nurse or doctor, this would then need to be documented on the patient’s record. Nurses or doctors would make their decision based on what they think will benefit their patients not necessarily knowing if it’s right or wrong. Evidence suggests nurses are likely to be the professionals providing care with poor decision-making skills compared to doctors.

Evidence-based practice can influence many different areas in health and social care such as; policy, research, and clinical practice. Nurses use evidence when planning for patient care such as; what type of equipment is needed, staff skill mix, timeframes for treatment, and risk assessments. Evidence can also be used when developing policies such as safe staffing levels. This will be based on the number of patients nursed at any one time across a ward or department which has been assessed using evidence from reviews and audits. Evidence-based practice is essential when considering what resources are available to you i.e: whether you have enough staff to provide safe patient care or whether your facility meets national guidelines.

The term ‘evidence-based practice’ is used when healthcare workers are able to apply scientific evidence or research findings in their work. This means that the care given is based on what has been found to work for other people in different situations.

Evidence-based practice does not mean working according to an instruction book but it is a way of finding out what is effective, based on observation and research.

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Evidence-based practice makes good sense because it can have a big influence on our everyday work. It shows us how to do the same things that other people have already done successfully, so we know that these things work and also that they will be as successful for us as they were for those who first did them. This means we will spend less time trying to find out how best to care for clients and more time providing care.

Evidence-based practice can also help you understand which things help some people but not others, why this happens, and how it can be changed. This means that evidence-based practice enables healthcare workers to make predictions about what will work best for our clients, based on research findings regarding normal human function and behavior.

EBP allows you to know what works and why it works, it also means that we can be more confident about providing care for a diverse range of clients because the care we provide will have been tried and tested before so it is more likely to be successful. Evidence-based practice helps us keep up to date with current issues in our field of work because research may prove some practices as being ineffective or as having some negative effects on clients which opens our eyes as professionals to new areas of learning.

Evidence-based practice is also important for competence and accountability. If a decision that you make does not have the intended outcome, you may be answerable to others. By showing that your decision was based on the available evidence, you will be able to explain the reasons for your decision and justify your actions.

Evidence-based practice should not solely depend on research, but also include service user perspectives and your own clinical experience.

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