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Evidence Based Practice (NUR 4169): What is EBP?

NUR 4169 Course Description

This course focuses on improving patient outcomes through an evidenced-based nursing practice approach in symptom assessment, intervention, and evaluation.

NUR 4169 is a 3-credit course. The NUR 4169 Library Guide is designed to supplement your course assignments and materials. (It's also a great guide for any FGCU student wanting to know more about EBP in a fun, informative way!)

What is EBP and why is it important?

Evidence Based Practice signifies a systematic, yet holistic and patient-oriented approach to health care.  EBP is an offshoot of evidence based medicine (EBM), defined in Sackett’s key article:

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external evidence from systematic research."

This definition of EBM requires integration of three major components for medical decision making:  1) the best external evidence, 2) individual practitioner’s clinical expertise, and 3) patients' preference.

From Florida State University, College of Medicine

Steps in the EBP Process:

  1. Clearly identify the patient problem based on accurate assessment & current professional knowledge and practice. 
  2. Research the literature for relevant research.
  3. Evaluate the research evidence using established criteria regarding scientific merit.
  4. Choose interventions and justify those with the most valid evidence.

(See also the "EPB Process in Action" on this page.)

Evidence-based Nursing (EBN) goes beyond those three components, adding more extended consideration of patient values, and including access to adequate resources. EBN has been said to incorporate:

  • the patient’s clinical state, clinical setting and circumstances
  • the patient’s preferences and actions
  • the best research evidence, defined as: "methodologically sound, clinically relevant research about the effectiveness and safety of nursing interventions, the accuracy and precision of nursing assessment measures, the power of prognostic markers, the strength of causal relationships, the cost effectiveness of nursing interventions, and the meaning of illness or patient experiences.” 

DiCenso, A., Guyatt, G. and Ciliska, D.  Eds. (2005). Evidence-based nursing; A guide to clinical practiceSt. Louis, MO: Mosby, p.4 (FGCU Library-2nd Floor  RT42 .E92 2005) 

Melnyk, B., Fineout-Overholt, E., Stillwell, S., & Williamson, K. (2009). Evidence-based practice: step by step. Igniting a spirit of inquiry: an essential foundation for evidence-based practice: how nurses can build the knowledge and skills they need to implement EBP. American Journal of Nursing, 109(11), 49-52.

Sackett, David L., et al. (1996, January 13). Evidence based medicine: What it is and what it isn'tBMJ 312, 71-72.

"What is EBM." Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine. 

EBP Process in Action

Here's a chart that was created by Mary Kay Hartung, a former FGCU Health Professions & Social Work Librarian. It shows EBP in action to help you implement it for your own studies:


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Traci Mays
10501 FGCU Boulevard S., Fort Myers, FL 33965

Viva La Evidence

Time for some EBP fun!

Watch a parody of Coldplay's Viva La Vida: this music video is all about evidence based healthcare, including a little bit about the history of evidence and key principles.

EBP Made Easy: Self-tutorials

Check out these tutorials to go over evidence-based practice at your own pace. They will allow you to skip around or replay the parts you are most interested in seeing. They do a GREAT job of breaking down Evidence-Based Practice in easy-to-understand bites!

The following tutorial was designed specifically for nurses and to promote EBP in nursing care:

These self-paced tutorials are for all disciplines of medicine:‚Äč