•This article has been double-blind peer reviewed
Before implementing a change in practice, nurses require a systematic, evidencebased approach to identifying gaps in services and the need for change
Carter H, Price L (2016) Changing practice 1: Assessing the need for service improvement. Nursing Times; 112: 8, 15-17. In order to ensure the service they offer is of an appropriate standard, nurses need to know how to assess its quality, identify the need for change, and implement and evaluate that change. This two-part series offers practical guidance on how to bring about an evidence-based change in practice, and how to demonstrate the success, or otherwise, of that change. It uses the example of an initiative undertaken to improve medicines management in a hospice to illustrate the process. The article also illustrates how work undertaken in changing practice can form part of the evidence submitted in the nurse revalidation process. Part 1 considers how to determine when a change in practice is needed, how to assess and measure current practice, and identify gaps or weaknesses. Part 2 will discuss how to find out why the current practice is falling short of the desired level, and how to go about implementing improvements and measuring the effect of changes.