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Nursing Experts: Translating the Evidence - Public Health Nursing

Guide to Evidence Based Practice and Knowledge Translation for Public Health Nursing.

What is Evidence Based Practice?

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) is a process of life-long, problem-based learning.  EBP is a concept that applies to all of the health sciences.  The process involves:

  • Converting information needs into focused questions.
  • Efficiently tracking down the best evidence with which to answer the question.
  • Critcally appraising the evidence for validity and clinical usefulness.
  • Applying the results in clinical practice.
  • Evaluating performance of the evidence in clinical application.


Venn Diagram with Best Research Evidence, Patient Values, and Clinical Expertise in three circles that have a mutual union labeled EBP



Sackett, et al. defined Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) as “the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values.”  [Sackett DL, Straus SE, Richardson WS, Rosenberg W Haynes RB. "Evidence-based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM". Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.]

Why is EBP Important?

There is now an overwhelming amount of new information generated annually, monthly, even weekly.  Health professionals can not be expected to keep current by reading everything that is published. 

Instead, the EBP process teaches professionals how to find the information that they need when they need it.

What is Evidence Based Public Health?

"The process of systematically finding, appraising, and using contemporaneous clinical and community research findings as the basis for decisions in public health."   [Jenicek M and Stachenko S.  (2003)  'Evidence-based public health, community medicine, preventive medicine.'  Medical Science Monitor: 9(2):p. SR2.]

"Evidence is limited for many public health interventions, yet approaches should be based on the best possible science, be multidisciplinary and center on sound planning and evaluation methods."  [Brownson RC, Baker EA, Leet TL, (2003) Evidence based public health. New York: Oxford University Press.]

What is Evidence Based Public Health Nursing?

Evidence-based public health nursing is the process of developing, implementing, and evaluating proven programs or policies to positively impact the health of a defined population.

What are the Advantages to using EBPHN?

  • Higher likelihood of success when decisions are based on evidence rather than historical, political, or other pressures.
  • Common indicators of success can be identified and used to evaluate our own projects.
  • New knowledge is generated.
  • Existing programs can be defended and expanded by providing evidence to support them.
  • Evidence can be used to advocate for new programs.

Steps in the Evidence Based Public Nursing Health process:

Circular flowchart that shows an 8 step process including 1. Ask a compelling question/statement of issue. 2. Search the literature. 3. Appraise the evidence. 4. Select the best evidence. 5. Link evidence with experience and client values. 6. Develop an action plan. 7. Implement your findings. 8. Evaluate the results.  Step 8 points back to step 1 to start the process over.


For more information on EBP in general, please see the following guide: