Evidence-Based Practice: Where to Look

Magnifying Glass - FactsFraming a good question points us in the right direction, but how do we find good evidence to answer this question? In my last post, I used the PICOT method to create this search question: Are heel protectors as effective as turning to prevent heel pressure ulcers? In this post we’ll look at our search options to get the answers we need.

Correctional nurses, in particular, can find themselves with more question than answer sources. Jails and prisons are often short on medical library services. In my hospital days, I merely showed up at the library with a list of topics and a medical librarian worked on my request. As with so many other areas of practice, correctional nurses must be creative in seeking out sources of published research for clinical application. Here are a few of my favorite options for finding evidence in our resource-poor environment:

  • The Internet: The world is at our fingertips now that we have search engines and online professional nursing sites to access. Even if your facility does not have open internet access, you are likely to have personal online service to use outside of work. Try the key words of your question in the search bar and see what comes of it. Also consider using these online sites:
  • Libraries: Check out your medical library sources in your geographic area. If your facility provides a clinical experience for nursing students, you may be able to access the school’s medical library. That may also hold true for your local community college if they offer nursing degrees. Even your public library may be a resource if they are linked with the state college library system. You may be able to obtain access to nursing books and periodicals through the library lending services.
  • State Board of Nursing: Some states offer library access through the nursing licensure process. Contact your state board or review their website to see if you have services through your licensing fees.

Seeking out sources of good evidence will allow you access to the information that can transform your nursing practice and help you deliver the quality care you desire. Do you have some advice on where you locate evidence for application to correctional nursing practice? Share your tips in the comments section of this post.

Read more about Evidence-Based Nursing Practice in Chapter 18 from Essentials of Correctional Nursing. Order your copy directly from the publisher. Use promotional code AF1209 for $15 off and free shipping. http://www.springerpub.com/product/9780826109514#.UDqoiNZlQf4

Photo Credit: © kbuntu – Fotolia.com

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