Sharing the evidence underpinning nursing care

Alison Twycross (@alitwy), Editor and Jo Smith (@josmith175) Associate Editor of Evidence-Based Nursing

This week there will be no ‘formal’ twitter chat but Alison will be keeping us up-to-date by tweeting from Royal College of Nursing Annual International Nursing Research Conference. Follow the discussion at @EBNursingBMJ #ebnjc #research2016

At Evidence Based Nursing (EBN) we are committed to disseminating, discussing, debating and seeking ways to promote underpinned patient care by robust evidence. Evidence-based practice (EBP), has been defined as ‘the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence to inform practice’ (Sackett et al, 1996, pg 2). In relation to nursing this definition can be problematic as it is rooted within medicine, with best evidence typically associated with randomised control trials aiming at establishing the effectiveness of treatments. In relating to nursing, many areas of nursing and nursing care remain under researched, and nurses are often interested in the human experience and the complexity of nursing practice. Therefore many nurse researchers adopt qualitative approaches to research in order to understanding the meaning of ill health for the individual. A definition of EBN, ‘an on-going process by which evidence, nursing theory, and the practitioner’s clinical expertise are critically evaluated and considered, in conjunction with patient involvement, to provide the delivery of optimum nursing care for the individual’ has more meaning for everyday nursing practice (Scott and McSherry 2009, p 1089). This definition emphasises that the evidence to support practice can be drawn from; research, clinical and the patient experience, and local information such as guidelines and policies (Rycroft-Malone et al 2004).

Globally nurses increasingly face many challenges in the delivery of safe care in environments where demands on resources are escalating. Although EBN is not a solation to many of the challenges facing healthcare, ensuring nursing care is based on the best available evidence remains key to the delivery of quality care that best meets patient needs. The challenge for nurses is accessing evidence in a way that is useful and engages discussion about contemporary practice issues, One of the objectives of Evidence-Based Nursing is to report health related studies and reviews about important advances relevant to best nursing practice. Sharing information, through our publications, networking and using social media are essential to the development of evidence-based practice. This week (6-8th of April 2016) is the prestigious Royal College of Nursing Annual International Nursing Research Conference and Exhibition being held in Edinburgh, bring together researchers from diverse clinical and academic settings from around the world to participate in critical debate, promote and advance a body of knowledge with relevance to nursing.

Keynote addresses include:

  • Nursing at the Extremes: Navigating the Emotions of Care by Pam Smith, Professorial Fellow in Nursing Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Applying for and conducting a large EU research grant: the case of RN4CASTby Walter Sermeus, Professor in Health Care Management & Programme Director for Health Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Fewer bricks, more builders: where next for nursing research?Gary Rolfe, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, Swansea University, Wales

For more information about the conference access the web site:

Whether you are attending the conference or not you can keep up-to-date with contemporary nursing research issues and contribute to debates by follow the discussion at @EBNursingBMJ #ebnjc #research2016 


Rycroft-Malone, J., Seers, K., Tichen, A., Harvey, G., Kitson, A., McCormack, B. (2004) What counts as evidence in evidence-based practice? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 77, 1, 81-90.

Sackett, D.L. Rosenberg , W.M.C., Gray, J.A. (1996) Evidence-based medicine, what it is and what it isn’t. British Medical Journal; 312, 71-72.

Scott K and McSherry R (2009) Evidence- based nursing: clarifying the concepts for nurses in practice. Nursing in Critical Care, 3; 2, 67-71.

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