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Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)

In addition to the basics of EBP and PICO, this guide answers questions about primary vs. secondary sources, where to look for evidence, and how to search to get the best results.

What Is EBP?

EBP = Best research evidence + clinical expertise + patient values and preferencesEvidence-based practice (EBP) is “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients” (Sackett, Rosenberg, Gray, Haynes, & Richardson, 1996).

It is “a life-long problem-solving approach to the delivery of health care that integrates:

  • The best evidence from well-designed studies (i.e., external evidence),
  • A patient’s preferences and values, and
  • A clinician’s expertise, which includes internal evidence gathered from patient data” (Melnyk, Gallagher-Ford, Long, & Fineout-Overholt, 2014)

Melnyk, B. M., Gallagher-Ford, L., Long, L. E., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2014). The establishment of evidence-based practice competencies for practicing registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in real-world clinical settings: Proficiencies to improve healthcare quality, reliability, patient outcomes, and costs. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 11(1), 5–15. doi:10.1111/wvn.12021

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: British Medical Journal, 312(7023), 71–72. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71