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Quality Improvement, Evidence-Based Practice, and Nursing Research . . . Oh My!

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Research is a word that evokes feeling of fear and dread in many nurses. Maybe its memories of the research course required in their nursing education program, hours spent in the library, or deciphering the statistics section in a research article. Most nurses want to focus on nursing skills and are unaware of the relationship between research and nursing care skills, such as administering medications, protecting skin integrity, or educating an anxious parent. Many nurses see research as distinct from patient care and nursing practice, but nothing is further from the truth. Quality nursing care is based on questioning the things nurses do and looking at the relationship between nursing care and patient outcomes. For a long time, nursing practices were based on tradition. Even the emergence of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was grounded in the tradition of the adult intensive care unit. Equipment and practices were downsized without evidence that what worked with an adult patient could be effectively miniaturized and used with neonatal patients. If the goal of nursing practice is excellent care and quality outcomes for patients, then questioning practices, examining outcomes, using evidence, and sharing discoveries are essential components of the nurses' role.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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