Research Question April 21, 2012
What does evidence based decision making involve?
Evidence-based decision making involves combining the knowledge arising from one’s clinical expertise, patient preferences, and research evidence within the context of available resources. Evidence-based decision making—like all decision making—involves choosing from a discrete range of options, which may include doing nothing or a “wait and see” strategy. All such choices are informed by an evaluation of available information: the process of using clinical judgment. In making evidence-based decisions, research evidence should not be taken at face value and adhered to uncritically, but should be given an appropriate weight in a decision depending on its internal and external validity.
Integrating research evidence into decision making involves forming a focused clinical question in response to a recognized information need, searching for the most appropriate evidence to meet that need, critically appraising the retrieved evidence, incorporating the evidence into a strategy for action, and evaluating the effects of any decisions and actions taken. These steps are important components of the active process that is evidence-based decision making.
The number and types of decisions faced by nurses are related to the work environment, perceptions of their clinical role, operational autonomy, and the degree to which they see themselves as active and influential decision makers.
Nurses are expected to access, appraise, and incorporate research evidence into their professional judgment and clinical decision making. Nurses have probably always known that their decisions have important implications for patient outcomes. Increasingly, however, they are being cast in the role of active decision makers in healthcare by policy makers and other members of the healthcare team.