Why have EBP?k


What is EBP?
Problems with the Definition
Why have EBP?

The Five Stages of EBP
The Question?
Background Questions
Foreground Questions

Finding the Evidence

The Hierarchy of Evidence
Tips on finding the evidence

Acting on Evidence

Evaluation & Reflection

Why have EBP?

Many elements of nursing continue to be based on custom and practice, without much thought being given to why things are done in a certain way. As Bertrand Russell is alleged to have said:

"the fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd"
                                 (Attributed to Bertrand Russell, 1882-1970)

In the current age of clinical governance, health care staff must strive to provide the best quality of care they can. This emphasises Sackett's argument that evidence based practice is "conscientious", meaning that it requires thought and a questioning attitude to patient care.

There are many reasons why nurses should engage in evidence based practice. These include:

  • The increasingly complex nature of health care decisions
  • The Department of Health's directive that services and treatments should be based on the best evidence of what does and does not work (DoH, 1997)
  • Compliance with Codes of Professional Conduct
  • The nurse's ability to make informed judgments is of importance to patients and assists nurses' in being valued members of multidisciplinary teams
  • Nurses do not have the time to read extensively. The pragmatic process of appraising and using the literature benefits patients whilst also expanding the nurses' knowledge base.

Never be afraid to admit to gaps in your knowledge. No-one knows everything.


Department of Health (1997) The new NHS: Modern, dependable.

Sackett DL, Rosenberg WMC, Gray JAM, Richardson WS (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. British Medical Journal. 312 (13 January) 71-72.

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Copyright Morton and Morton 2003