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Keywords:

  • evidence-based practice;
  • competencies;
  • healthcare quality

ABSTRACT

Background

Although it is widely known that evidence-based practice (EBP) improves healthcare quality, reliability, and patient outcomes as well as reduces variations in care and costs, it is still not the standard of care delivered by practicing clinicians across the globe. Adoption of specific EBP competencies for nurses and advanced practice nurses (APNs) who practice in real-world healthcare settings can assist institutions in achieving high-value, low-cost evidence-based health care.

Aim

The aim of this study was to develop a set of clear EBP competencies for both practicing registered nurses and APNs in clinical settings that can be used by healthcare institutions in their quest to achieve high performing systems that consistently implement and sustain EBP.

Methods

Seven national EBP leaders developed an initial set of competencies for practicing registered nurses and APNs through a consensus building process. Next, a Delphi survey was conducted with 80 EBP mentors across the United States to determine consensus and clarity around the competencies.

Findings

Two rounds of the Delphi survey resulted in total consensus by the EBP mentors, resulting in a final set of 13 competencies for practicing registered nurses and 11 additional competencies for APNs.

Linking Evidence to Action

Incorporation of these competencies into healthcare system expectations, orientations, job descriptions, performance appraisals, and clinical ladder promotion processes could drive higher quality, reliability, and consistency of healthcare as well as reduce costs. Research is now needed to develop valid and reliable tools for assessing these competencies as well as linking them to clinician and patient outcomes.