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DNP Answers

Leading Evidence-Based Practice

Published August 6, 2014 12:53 PM by Julie Schreiner

Evidence-based practice...we heard about it throughout nursing school and into our master's degrees; you hear the phrase in almost every health profession and in discussions regarding our current healthcare system. However, it wasn't until my DNP education that I truly understood the process of using the evidence to guide care and the importance of being a leader in this type of practice.

One of the most important acquisitions from my DNP education was the need for this evidence-based practice in today's healthcare environment. With the Affordable Care Act in full swing, there is a dire need for cost savings and improvement in patient outcomes to reflect on the cost spending. Just as changes have been made in the hospitals with the decreased reimbursement or even fining for services that are not supported by the evidence, the time will come when the same is true for primary care. The opportunity exists for leaders to guide care and support the healthcare system that is in need of evidence-based practice. This is exactly what our DNP education sought out to do: improve patient outcomes through research. Although a doctoral degree is not necessary to take part in evidence-based practice, the DNP education supports the leadership of this movement.

It is to this that I request those with a DNP to respond. The DNP degree was developed with the intention of improving clinical patient outcomes through research. Simply put, the focus is on improving the knowledge of clinicians in relation to clinical practice outcomes by using the research to provide higher quality of care. We must be leaders in this undertaking. Not only to improve patient outcomes, but also to provide a trickle effect on the entire healthcare system. As the parable of the fisherman teaches us, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

We as doctoral-level trained nurses must be the teachers and leaders in our healthcare system through evidence-based practice as well as the guidance of using the evidence to support patient care. We must lead our peers - including nurses, physicians, legislators, etc. - in the practice of evidence-based care in order to not only improve the health of our patients, but also the well-being of our entire healthcare system.

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