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In a court of law, if the evidence didn’t exist, then an attorney wouldn’t have much of a case to pursue. Most times, cases will be dropped, and life goes on. In nursing, it is evidence that is supported by research that guides us to continue clinical practices that promote quality and safety for our patients. The results of a study can prevent us from doing something that may cause harm or has no clinical value to the patient. Evidence-based practice has improved the way nurses practice and deliver care to patients. But unlike the law scenario, if evidence doesn’t exist, nurses can’t shrug their shoulders and say ‘oh well.’
When evidence doesn’t exist, nurses can rely on critical thinking and clinical reasoning to guide them in their efforts to provide safe and effective care. Critical thinking is a problem-solving approach. According to (Ward-Smith 2020), “critical thinking allows us to identify the problem, then develop a solution or intervention based on our review and critique available data.” Often critical thinking is developed through clinical experience and previous knowledge, so new nurses or nursing students might not have developed this skill. (Papthanasiou, Kelisiaris, & Fradelos, et.al.,2014).
The right characteristics can develop one’s level of critical thinking. Be knowledge-hungry and always think before taking action. Nurses should reflect after the end of the shift to think about what improvements they can make the next time around. Stay informed by joining respective nursing associations and join journal clubs to get up-to-date information on the latest research and outcomes. Know what resources are available such as online web resources such as Elsevier or Lippincott, to help manage a patient’s care. Reach out to peers as they may have valuable information that may assist in the management of the patient.