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Evidence-based Practice

What Is Evidence-based Practice (EBP)?


Evidence-based practice "is a systematic approach to clinical problem solving which allows the integration of the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values" (Sackett et al., 2000).

And "it also requires the health professional to consider characteristics of the practice context in which they work." (Hoffman et al., 2017, p. 4).

Best Available Research Evidence:EBP diagram

  • Clinical research is a continuous, ever-changing process

  • New publications and information are shared daily

  • By the time you join a facility, new practices may have been implemented

  • Healthcare practitioners and nurses are required to keep pace with changes in the field by attending conferences, trainings, or continuing education courses

Clinical Expertise:

  • As healthcare practitioners and nurses, your professional experiences, your observations, your informed knowledge, and your medical reasoning will influence your interactions with patients

  • Clinical research may be performed by: hospitals, healthcare providers, researchers, specialists, universities, companies (ex. medical equipment manufacturers)

  • Clinical trials can sometimes take place in hospitals, outpatient clinics, or real-world environments

  • Healthcare practitioners and nurses may work with or become part of a clinical or hospital research team, which might include observations about how clinical research changes in a real-world environment

Patient Values:

  • A patient's personal beliefs, personal values, cultural practices, and/or personal preferences can influence applicable healthcare options

  • Individualized high quality, patient-centered care is the core of healthcare

Practice Context:

  • A facility's available resources or characteristics (ex. leadership, team dynamics, type of facility, equipment etc.) can influence the EBP process.


Hoffman, T. Bennett, S. & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice: Across the health professions (3rd ed.). Elsevier.

Sackett, D. L., Straus, S. E., Richardson, W. S., Rosenberg, W., & Haynes, R. B. (2000). Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone.

Steps in the EBP Process

All steps in the EBP process focus on the patient. The process begins by considering the patient and ends by reevaluating the effects on the patient. This guide reviews steps 1 through 4.

Step 1 Assess the patient.

Step 2 Ask a searchable clinical, PICOT, or research question.

Step 3 Acquire the best available research evidence to answer the question.

Step 4 Appraise the evidence.

Step 5 Apply to the patient.

Evidence-based Practice Tutorials & Video

Complete Module 1: Intro to EBP from the EBP Tutorial developed by the staff at the Duke University Medical Center Library and the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina.

As you review the tutorial, pay particular attention to the types of questions and evidence hierarchy.

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