Tradition to Evidence Based Practice
You are the nurse caring for Mr. Smith who has a diagnosis of neutropenia. The family brings him an arrangement of live plants. A sign on Mr. Smith's door lists precautions; one states no live plants. The family asks why and you explain that the soil has bacteria and due to Mr. Smith's low white cell count, he is susceptible to infection. The family wonders how the bacteria in the soil can cause an infection. You tell the family that this practice is a precaution to protect the patient. The family is satisfied with your answer. However, their question of "how" has left you questioning the rationale for no plants in the room.
Nursing knowledge is acquired through several means; tradition, authority, borrowing, trial and error, personal experience, role-modeling and mentorship, intuition, reasoning, and research. (Burns and Grove, 2002). Many nurses base their practice according to ritual and tradition without questioning the validity of what they do.
Nurses would agree that providing the best quality care to patient's results in positive outcomes. But what is the best care and how do we know that our interventions are current and beneficial? This paper will explore the developments of nursing knowledge and nursing research that has brought the profession to where it is at today.
Nursing research is not separate from nursing practice, it is a process that is interconnected with, is influenced by and influences other nursing components. These are philosophy, knowledge, science, theory, research, abstract thought processes, and nursing practice. (Burns et al, 2003).
Nursing Theory links nursing knowledge to research and nursing practice. Dennis (1997) defines nursing theory as "a set of concepts and propositions derived from philosophical beliefs about the phenomena of interest to the discipline; relationships between concepts and propositions...