Accessing & using evidence to underpin the care when working with children, young people & families by Alison Twycross and Jo Smith

Evidence-based nursing has been defined as the ‘process by which evidence, nursing theory, and clinical expertise are critically evaluated and considered, in conjunction with patient involvement, to provide the delivery of optimum nursing care’ (Scott & McSherry, 2009, p 1089). In an increasingly digital environment, the richness and complexity, range and quantity of evidence on which to base practice sometimes results in information overload. The journal of Evidence-Based Nursing (EBN) supports nurses to access research studies and reviews that report important advances relevant to best nursing practice, through the publication of commentaries that not only summarise research but offer a critique of the it by an expert in the area. The commentary authors highlight implications for research and implications for clinical practice.

In addition, EBN offers a range of opportunities for nurses to engage in debates about contemporary issues in nursing through our Blogs and Twitter chats, facebook pages and podcasts – access for more details of these activities. Each month EBN has a theme, and in May, we will be focussing on child health issues. The current issue of EBN (April 2015) has a range of commentaries on topic child health issues including:

  • Nut allergy;
  • Links between parent health literacy and obesity;
  • Parents’ perceptions of their child’s weight;
  • Increased BMI and behavioural problems in children;
  • Support for toddlers of low income families and improvements in child development;
  • Reducing anxiety in children undergoing elective surgery;
  • Preparing adoptive parents to live with a child with reactive attachment disorder;
  • Adherence to antiepileptic drugs in children.

As children’s nurses and researchers we believe that children’s nurses must underpin care with the best available evidence. In May our Twitter chats will be focussing on:

  • Wednesday 6th of May between 8-9pm UK time, ‘managing children’s vaccination pain’. This Twitter chat will be co-hosted by Dr Christine Chambers (@DrCChambers) and Dr Denise Harrison (@dharrisoncheo) from Canada who undertaken a significant amount of work in this area;
  • Wednesday 20th of May between 8-9pm UK time, ‘The Shape of Caring Review and implications for the training and education of children’s nurses’. For this chat we will be joined by Fiona Smith, RCN Professional Lead – Children and Young People (@FionaSmithRCN) and Kath Evans, Children’s Nurse, Head of
    Patient Experience, NHS England (@KathEvans2).

To participate in the Twitter chat you need to have a Twitter account. If you do not already have one you can create an account at Once you have an account contributing is straightforward:

  • Follow the discussion by searching links to #ebnjc or @EBNursingBMJ;
  • Create a tweet (tweets are text messages limited to 140 characters) to @EBNursingBMJ and add #ebnjc (the EBN chat hash tag) at the end of your tweet – this allows everyone taking part to view your tweets.

This week (28th – 30th April) is the first joint Royal College of Nursing Children and Young People’s conference and Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health conference focussing on ‘Advocating for children in a rapidly changing world’, and offers an exciting programme including a wide range of symposia and workshops, keynote speakers from diverse professional background, updates on key clinical issues, and the latest evidence to inform practice. Throughout the conference Alison (@alitwy) and Jo (@josmith175) will be tweeting key messages and issues relevant to the EBN readers. Please join in and let us know what you think are the important messages from the conference adding #ebnjc to your Tweets.

Further reading:

Scott K, McSherry R. Evidence-based nursing: clarifying the concepts for nurses in practice. Nursing in Critical Care, 2009: 3; 67-71 p 1089.

Alison Twycross

Head of Department for Children’s Nursing and Reader in Children’s Pain Management, London South Bank University Editor: Evidence e Based Nursing

Email:, @alitwy


Joanna Smith

Senior Lecturer Children’s Nursing, School of H&H Sciences, Divsion Maternal & Child Health, University of Huddersfield Associate Editor: Evidence Based Nursing

Email:, @josmith175


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