Expectationsfor Evidence-Based Practice
Advancedpractice nurses (APNs) are expected to have the skills and theworking experience that can help them address complex medicalconditions. The term “advanced” is used to imply that nursesbearing the title “APNs” have the knowledge that allow them tohandle cases that newly registered professionals may not be able todeal with. However, this expectation can only be met if the APNsembrace and apply the concept of evidence-based practice (EBP) intheir professional duties. According to American Association ofColleges of Nursing (2006) the ongoing transformation in theeducation should aim to help the nurses practice at the most advancedlevel. However, more emphasis is put on the need to prepare themthrough the expansion of their scientific knowledge in areaspertaining to client safety, outcome, and the quality of health caredelivery. From this perspective, it is evident that APNs are expectedto shift from the application of theory to the use of scientificevidence in addressing challenges that are facing the modern healthcare systems. The purpose of applying evidence-based practice is todemonstrate their innovativeness and the ability to base their workon credible scientific findings.
TheAACN requires all DNP learners to take a statistics course because itis paramount for anyone who wishes to apply scientific evidence to beable to analyze and derive meaning from empirical studies. Theconcept of “evidence-based practice is founded on the notion thatnurses should be able to either conduct or read through scientificresearch related to the medical problem at hand and use the findingsto inform their decisions. However, most of the scientific findingsare reported using statistical terms, figures, and tables thatrequire a careful interpretation. A study conducted by Majid (2011)concluded that the lack of ability to comprehend statistical terms isone of the three major barriers that have limited the application ofthe principles of the EBP in the health care sector. These findingsjustify the need to require DNP to undertake a statistics course inorder to help them understand scientific findings and apply them intheir practice.
Roleof Statistics in Evidence-Based Decisions
TheEBP is a process of making health care decisions after getting aninsight from the most recent scientific evidence. The statistics playfour major roles in facilitating this process of decision making.First, health care professionals require statistics in order toanalyze and summarize empirical data before it can be put to use(Lang & Altman, 2013). In other words, statistics help nursesexamine voluminous data and summarize it in order to get a clearmeaning.
Secondly,the application of statistics helps nurses interpret data and thenmake inferences. According to AACN (2006) doctoral nursing practice(DNP) professionals are expected to be able to analyze biostatics,epidemiological, and environmental data that is related to a givenpopulation or an individual. In this case, the role of statics is tohelp the health care providers internalize scientific data and use itto enhance their understanding of the health issues affecting thepopulation.
Third,statistics play a critical role in establishing the correlationbetween different variables (Lang & Altman, 2013). Thiscorrelation help practitioners make relevant and well informeddecisions. For example, statistics can indicate the correlationbetween a given disease and certain risk factors, which implies thatthe health care providers will be able to address the most possiblecause that has a statistically significant association with themedical condition. These roles may be extended beyond the client toan organizational level in order to help the health care firm developpolicies that are informed by statistical data.
Therefore,the statistics make it easy to identify facts and evidence that canbe used to inform health care decisions. Statistics also make itpossible for the nurses to see the association between health careproblems and their possible causes, thus increasing the degree ofcertainty in their practice.
AmericanAssociation of Colleges of Nursing (2006). Theessentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice.Washington, DC: AACN.
Lang,T., & Altman, D. (2013). Basicstatistical reporting for articles published in biomedical journals:The “statistical analyses and methods in the published literature”or the SAMPL Guidelines”. Oxford: Oxford University.
Majid,S. (2011). Adopting evidence-based practice in clinical decisionmaking: Nurses’ perception, knowledge, and barriers. Journalof the Medical Library Association,99 (3), 229-236.