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Evidence-Based Practice

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence-based medicine is defined as the "conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients" (Sackett et al., 1996).

It is the integration of the highest quality research evidence, clinical expertise, and patient values.

Below are steps to evidence-based practice which illustrate how to apply these concepts to practice.


Blevins, A. (2010). What is Evidence-Based Practice? University of Iowa. Image used with permission.

Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A., Haynes, R. B., Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: What it is and what it isn't. BMJ, 312, 71-72.

Lane, Sile. (2009). Sense About: Systematic Reviews Sense about Science

Steps of Evidence-Based Practice

According to Godshall (2010), the seven basic steps involved in implementing evidence-based practice are:

Step 1: Ask or identify the important clinical question.

Step 2: Collect the best and most pertinent evidence.

Step 3: Critically analyze and rate the evidence.

Step 4: Integrate the evidence with your own clinical expertise, patient knowledge, and patient values in making a practice decision or recommending a change.

Step 5: Implement your practice change, if authorized.

Step 6: Evaluate how the practice change has influenced or affected your practice area.

Step 7: Disseminate and share this evidence with your peers and colleagues.

[Source: Godshall, M. (2010). Introduction to evidence-based practice. In Fast facts for evidence-based practice: Implementing EBP in a nutshell (p. 8). New York, NY: Springer.]

Evidence-Based Terms

Evidence-Based Nursing: A way of providing nursing care that is guided by the integration of the best available scientific knowledge with nursing expertise. This approach requires nurses to critically assess relevant scientific data or research evidence, and to implement high-quality interventions for their nursing practice. (MESH Heading, U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Evidence-Based Practice: A way of providing health care that is guided by a thoughtful integration of the best available scientific knowledge with clinical expertise. This approach allows the practitioner to critically assess research data, clinical guidelines, and other information resources in order to correctly identify the clinical problem, apply the most high-quality intervention, and re-evaluate the outcome for future improvement. (MESH Heading, U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Evidence-Based Medicine: An approach of practicing medicine with the goal to improve and evaluate patient care. It requires the judicious integration of best research evidence with the patient's values to make decisions about medical care. This method is to help physicians make proper diagnosis, devise best testing plan, choose best treatment and methods of disease prevention, as well as develop guidelines for large groups of patients with the same disease. (from JAMA 296 (9), 2006 as cited in MESH Heading, U.S. National Library of Medicine)

EBP Terms: Glossary

Key Journals

Related Guides

Nursing News from Medscape

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