Systematic Reviews: The Heart of Evidence-based Practice

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Research utilization approaches in nursing recently have been replaced by evidence-based practice (EBP) approaches. The heart of the new EBP paradigm is the systematic review. Systematic reviews are carefully synthesized research evidence designed to answer focused clinical questions. Systematic reviews (also known as evidence summaries and integrative reviews) implement recently developed scientific methods to summarize results from multiple research studies. Specific strategies are required for success in locating systematic reviews. Major sources of systematic reviews for use by advanced practice nurses in acute and critical care are the Online Journal of Knowledge Synthesis for Nursing, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Cochrane Library. This discussion describes systematic reviews as the pivotal point in today’s paradigm of EBP and guides the advanced practice nurse in locating and accessing systematic reviews for use in practice.

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