Evidence-based practice has gained momentum in nursing, and definitions vary widely. Research findings, knowledge from basic science, clinical knowledge, and expert opinion are all considered "evidence"; however, practices based on research findings are more likely to result in the desired patient outcomes across various settings and geographic locations. The impetus for evidence-based practice comes from payor and healthcare facility pressures for cost containment, greater availability of information, and greater consumer savvy about treatment and care options. Evidence-based practice demands changes in the education of students, more practice-relevant research, and closer working relationships between clinicians and researchers.
The evidence-based practice also provides opportunities for nursing care to be more individualized, more effective, streamlined, and dynamic, and to maximize the effects of the clinical judgment. When evidence is used to define best practices rather than to support existing practices, nursing care keeps pace with the latest technological advances and takes advantage of new knowledge developments.