Critical thinking and evidence-based practice (EBP)

 Critical thinking and evidence-based practice (EBP) drives nursing practice today. Critical thinking can be defined as incorporating data analysis, synthesis and interpretation of data to determine patient interventions. (Green, 2018) Evidence-based practice is defined as “the integration of clinical expertise, the most up-to-date research, and patient’s preference to care.” (Green, 2018) The nursing process to delivering patient care is dynamic. When a nurse incorporates the nursing process of assessment, diagnosis, planning of outcomes, implementation and evaluation in the setting of EBP patient care is substantiated. It allows the nurse to implement care and evaluate the outcome. It further permits for care to be changed if outcomes aren’t as desired. Critical thinking and critical evaluation are interchangeable. It enables the nurse to gather data and process that data to influence better patient care giving rise to better patient outcomes. Patient outcomes have improved when this process has been implemented. Foley catheter utilization driven by EBP and how it’s decreased catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) is one great example of its success. Patients no longer have a Foley catheter placed without a medically necessary reason. Risks and benefits have been tested, evaluated and substantiated to Foley catheter usage. This has greatly improved (decreased) CAUTI incidence and decreased negative patient outcomes. (Green, 2018) “EBP is aimed at hardwiring current knowledge into common care decisions to improve care processes and patient outcomes” (Stevens, 2013) This is an outstanding improvement to delivering patient care. As nurses we want to facilitate health and well being without causing harm. Exercising critical thinking and EBP when rendering care will help achieve that goal.

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