Nursing (NURS) 610

Evidence-Based Practice in Health Care


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Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: For MHS Students: MHST 601
For MN-Gen Students: NURS 608
For NP Students: None

Co-requisite: MHS and MN-Gen Students: MHST603/NURS 603

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


No matter the name, decision making using an evidence based approach has permeated all aspects of health and health care. The evidence based movement began in medicine, and in 1991 the first published appearance of the term was in the American College of Physicians and Surgeons Journal Club. Today, using an evidence based approach is heralded in many areas of health, across both research an practice, including public health, medicine, nursing, health promotion clinical practice and policy making etc. Using an evidence based approach to health has many direct and indirect benefits, including (but not limited to) greater access to higher quality health care, greater access to higher quality information on issues related to health, increased likelihood of therapy/intervention success, increased likelihood of successful implementation of programs and policies, and better use of both public and private resources.

Course Goals

To assist the student so that he or she will be able to:

  1. Understand, discuss, critique, evaluate and defend relevant issues in evidence based health, health care, and practice
  2. Evaluate and distinguish different levels of evidence and kinds of evidence
  3. Discuss the implications of evidence-based practice for the health care system
  4. Efficiently locate, critically evaluate and effectively summarize evidence
  5. Create a question around a select health issue/problem, discuss, evaluate and appraise evidence related to the issue, and propose and adapt an intervention related to the issue.
  6. Create an action plan related to a program or policy in the area of health (health policy, health care, health promotion)
  7. Discuss and solve issues related to implementation of research findings within practice (intervention implementation)
  8. Build and share ideas, resources, research, and apply examples of evidence based health across the knowledge to action process.

Course Materials

All materials are online indicated week by week. There is no text book for this course.

Special Course Features

In this course you will access health-related websites worldwide. You will also participate in email and computer conferencing with other students. Students are expected to connect to an Internet Service Provider at their own expense.

Technical Requirements

Computer System

In order to successfully complete this course, you must own or have ready access to certain computer hardware and software programs. For complete and up-to-date information on the minimum computer requirements required to complete the graduate nursing courses, visit the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies technical site.

Course Outline

The course consists of the following 9 units:

  • Unit 1: Orientation and Introduction to Evidence Based Health
  • Unit 2: Identifying the Problem
  • Unit 3: Finding the Scientific Evidence
  • Unit 4: Appraising the Research
  • Unit 5: Developing an Action Plan: Synthesizing the Evidence.
  • Unit 6: Developing an Action Plan: Adapting the Evidence.
  • Unit 7: Understanding and Assessing the Barriers to Knowledge use
  • Unit 8: Implementing the Evidence
  • Unit 9: Reflections on an Evidence Based Approach

Assessment Structure

In the MHS and MN:Gen programs, students must achieve an overall program GPA of 2.7 ( B- or 70 percent), to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for each MHS and MN:Gen course is C- (60 percent).

The following course activities will contribute to your course grade, with the percentage weighting of each activity as follows:

Paper 1 15%
Paper 2 25%
Paper 3 25%
Mini Presentation 15%
Conference Presentation 15%
Total 100%

In this course, there are 4 assignments. All assignments carry forward and build off one another. Because the assignments build on content, it is important that you spend time carefully thinking about your initial question, and ensure that it is one that (1) has an evidence base (published research is available) and (2) will be suitable for an intervention.

Assignment 1: Developing your Question (short paper, 5-7 pages)

Develop a relevant, answerable question related to health and provide a rationale Use PICO specifically to help frame the question for study.

Assignment 2: Appraising the Evidence (mid length paper, 7-10 pages)

The purpose of assignment 2 is to find the best available evidence to answer your question and to critically appraise that evidence, including the validity, impact and applicability. You then need to summarize the evidence found and appraised.

Assignment 3: Acting on the Evidence: Designing an Intervention (mid length paper, 7-10 pages)

This paper will address the following question: “How can the research I found be used with my patient, client, community or population?” For this paper, you will need to identify the problem, your population/context and discuss how you would plan to act on the evidence for a given group of people you are interested in. That is, design an intervention suitable for you topic.

Assignment 4: Mini Presentation: Synthesis

You will be asked to give a mini presentation which will be a synthesis of your work in the course. This should be done in the style of a 3 Minute Presentation.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.