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Evidence-based practice is self-evidently the ideal that occupational health practitioners should be striving for day to day. But, especially in our current internet age, being able to find, sift and critically evaluate evidence is not as straightforward as you may think, as Jo Rhodes and Professor Anne Harriss explain in the first of a two-part series.
Evidence-based (EBP) practice is essential if nurses are to practice both safely and effectively. Indeed, EBP is the foundation of effective healthcare (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2018 a; Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2018 b; British Medical Association, 2014).
EBP is at the core of the NMC’s standards of proficiency for registered nurses (NMC 2018 a). Occupational health nurses (OHNs), as NMC registrants, require a fundamental understanding of the importance of research in assessing, evaluating and improving practice as well as having the ability to interpret research evidence.
Indeed, when considering the recently published future nurse and midwifery standards (NMC, 2019) there is a commitment to ensure that practice standards respond to changing models of care. Accelerating the use of research and evidence into practice must be viewed as a priority as it improves the care and advice given to clients and to managers.
EBP involves “doing the right things right”, using the best available evidence to complement clinical expertise. The ethical and legal responsibilities of OHNs to deliver EBP workplace interventions are not only an NMC requirement, it is also stipulated by the International Commission on Occupational Health (2012).
In order to add value to their employing organisations and not just be seen as an unnecessary cost, OH professionals must provide cost-effective initiatives achieving this objective by utilising EBP to inform best practice, improve client experiences, and map clinical delivery against healthcare governance.
Additionally, EBP embraces a patient-centred approach. Evidence-based OH nursing practice must be based on appropriate research-based material. In or