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The nursing research council at my facility is trying to pinpoint topics that should be addressed with evidence-based practice. How should we go about identifying areas of concern?

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Staff nurses must be active participants in identifying clinical questions that can be solved or addressed with evidence-based practice (EBP). Although faculty members, advanced practice nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nursing leaders, and researchers can facilitate the process, they should not dictate the topics to be investigated. Staff nurses need to identify and prioritize the topics of interest to help ensure excitement, acceptance, and application at the bedside. Initially, topics should be broad and do not have to be written as "a focused EBP or research question."

The EBP/nursing research council can serve as the starting point for dialogue. One approach to help identify topic areas is to ask nurses to:

  • Identify nursing activities that they believe are a waste of time or that seem futile
  • Describe a nursing practice based on myth or tradition
  • Discuss a gap between practice and a recently published research article
  • Question a specific nursing technique or procedure
  • Describe a nursing intervention that results in more harm or waste than benefit
  • Identify a patient problem that is costly or otherwise wastes resources

—Suzanne C. Beyea, RN, PhD, FAAN