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Introducing evidence into nursing practice: Using the IOWA model

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Abstract

Evidence-based practice has gained increasing popularity in all healthcare settings. Nurses are urged to use up-to-date research evidence to ensure better patient outcomes and inform decisions, actions and interactions with patients, to deliver the best possible care. Within the practice setting, there is an increasing challenge to provide clearly measurable care of the highest quality, which is evidence-based. In order for nurses to operate from an evidence-based perspective, they need to be aware of how to introduce, develop and evaluate evidence-based practice. This article presents how evidence may be introduced into practice using the Iowa model, offering practical advice and explanation of the issues concerning nurses in practice.
Introducing evidence into nursing practice: using the IOWA model
Catriona M Doody and Owen Doody
Abstract
Evidence-based practice has gained increasing popularity in all healthcare settings.
Nurses are urged to use up-to-date research evidence to ensure better patient outcomes
and inform decisions, actions and interactions with patients, to deliver the best
possible care. Within the practice setting, there is an increasing challenge to provide
clearly measurable care of the highest quality, which is evidence-based. In order for
nurses to operate from an evidence-based perspective, they need to be aware of how
to introduce, develop and evaluate evidence-based practice. This article presents how
evidence may be introduced into practice using the Iowa model, offering practical
advice and explanation of the issues concerning nurses in practice.
Key Words: Evidence based practice, Nursing, IOWA model
Introduction
Evidence-based practice has gained increasing popularity since its introduction in the
latter part of the twentieth century, aspiring to be a dominant theme of practice,
policy, management and education within health services across the world (Rycroft-
Malone et al, 2004; Ryan et al, 2006). Nurses are urged to use up-to-date research
evidence to deliver the best possible care (Haynes et al, 1996; Barnsteiner and
Prevost, 2002; LoBiondo-Wood and Haber, 2006). Research-based practice has better
patient outcomes than routine, procedural nursing care (Heater et al, 1988; Thomas,
1999) and informs nursing decisions, actions and interactions with patients. Nurses in
practice are increasingly challenged by patients and healthcare organizations to
provide clearly measurable care of the highest quality (Holleman et al, 2006).
Decision making in health care has changed dramatically, with nurses expected to
make choices based on the best available evidence and continually review them as
new evidence comes to light (Pearson et al, 2007). Evidence-based practice involves
the use of reliable, explicit and judicious evidence to make decisions about the care of
individual patients (Sackett et al, 1996), combining the results of well-designed
research, clinical expertise, patient concerns and patient preferences (Sackett et al,
1996; Flemming et al, 1997; Grol and Grimshaw, 1999; Holleman et al, 2006). A
major criticism of evidence-based practice is the lack of available evidence or
inconclusive research. While a lack of evidence can be perceived as a barrier, it
should be recognized that the need to base practice on evidence has only become a
concern for health professionals relatively recently (Pearson et al, 2007). Although the
drive for evidence-based practice has gained momentum, it is still dependent on the
nurse’s ability to gather and appraise the evidence on which they base their care.
The results of well-designed research provide an obvious source of evidence but these
are by no means the only data used in everyday practice (Pearson et al, 2007). The
limitations of research conducted became obvious when the nursing profession began
to adopt an evidence-based model. Biomedical knowledge alone is inadequate for the
practice of nursing. A holistic approach is necessitated, which acknowledges all
aspects of people while also understanding their experiences (Pearson et al, 2007).
All knowledge and information used to make decisions can be referred to as evidence;
however, the validity of this evidence may be variable. There is no necessary
relationship between quantity and quality, nor between either of these and evidence
usage (Newell and Burnard, 2006). Therefore, nurses must take into account the
quality of evidence, assessing the degree to which it meets the four principles of
feasibility, appropriateness, meaningfulness and effectiveness (National Institute for
Health and Clinical Excellence, 2003; Gagan and Hewitt-Taylor, 2004; Pearson et al,
2007). In order for nurses to operate in an evidence-based manner, they need to be
aware of how to introduce, develop and evaluate evidence-based practice. This article
presents how evidence may be introduced into practice using the Iowa model, offering
practical advice and explanation of the issues concerning nurses in practice.
Process of introducing Evidence-Based Practice:
The Iowa model focuses on organization and collaboration incorporating conduct and
use of research, along with other types of evidence (Titler et al, 2001). Since its origin
in 1994, it has been continually referenced in nursing journal articles and extensively
used in clinical research programmes (LoBiondo-Wood and Haber, 2006). This model
allows us to focus on knowledge and problem-focused triggers, leading staff to
question current nursing practices and whether care can be improved through the use
of current research findings (Titler, 2006). In using the Iowa model, there are seven
steps to follow. These are outlined in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Seven steps of the IOWA model
1. Selection of a Topic
6. Implement the EBP
7. Evaluation
5. Developing an EBP
Standard
3. Evidence retrieval
2. Forming a
Team
4. Grading the
Evidence
Step 1: Selection of a topic
In selecting a topic for evidence-based practice, several factors need to be considered.
These include the priority and magnitude of the problem, its application to all areas of
practice, its contribution to improving care, the availability of data and evidence in the
problem area, the multidisciplinary nature of the problem, and the commitment of
staff.
Step 2: Forming a team
The team is responsible for development, implementation, and evaluation (LoBiondo-
Wood and Haber, 2006). The composition of the team should be directed by the
chosen topic and include all interested stakeholders. The process of changing a
specific area of practice will be assisted by specialist staff team members, who can
provide input and support, and discuss the practicality of guideline implementation
(Frost et al, 2003; Gagan and Hewitt-Taylor, 2004). A bottom-up approach to
implementing evidence-based practice is essential as change is more successful when
initiated by frontline practitioners, rather than imposed by management (Gough,
2001). Staff support is also important. Junior staff require support from senior staff to
effect change, as senior members or institutions often impede junior members from
implementing evidence-based practice (Bhandari et al, 2003). Without the necessary
resources and managerial involvement, the team will not feel they have the authority
to change care or the support from their organization to implement the change in
practice (Feasey and Fox, 2001).
To develop evidence-based practice at unit level, the team should draw up written
policies, procedures and guidelines that are evidence-based (LoBiondo-Wood and
Haber, 2006). Interaction should take place between the organization’s direct care
providers and management such as nurse managers, to support these changes (Retsas,
2000; Nagy et al, 2001; Berwick, 2003; LoBiondo-Wood and Haber, 2006). As social
and organizational factors interfere with the application of research findings, they
need to be identified and addressed prior to the development of evidence-based
practice or application of an evidence-based practice initiative to other practice areas
within the organisation. The factors identified within the literature include workload,
support of management and colleagues, level of education, experience of research,
lack of exposure to research, lack of training in research use, preference for practice
wisdom rather than research evidence, time availability, accessibility to research,
champion to assist efforts, organisation support to use and conduct research (Gerrish
and Clayton, 2004; Brown et al, 2009). Nurses or management may perceive task
performance as a more justifiable use of time than seeking evidence for action or
designing guidelines for existing practice (Gagan and Hewitt-Taylor, 2004; Pearson et
al, 2007).
Step 3: Evidence retrieval
From the team formation and topic selection, a brainstorming session should be held
to identify available sources and key terms to guide the search for evidence. Evidence
should be retrieved through electronic databases such as Cinahl, Medline, Cochrane,
Web of Science and Blackwell Synergy, utilizing key terms. Other sources of
evidence such as the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and
Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership (QIIP) should be consulted with
regards to relevant care standards and guidelines.
Step 4: Grading the evidence
To grade the evidence, the team will address quality areas of the individual research
and the strength of the body of evidence overall. There is a tendency to classify
research as quantitative or qualitative. Qualitative data is collected in order to derive
understanding of phenomena from a subjective perspective. The focus is on
description, understanding, and empowerment. The theory is developed based on
inductive reasoning, and is grounded in reality as it is perceived and experienced by
the participants involved. Conversely, quantitative data is based on the process of
deduction, hypothesis testing and objective methods in order to control phenomena
with its focus on theory testing and prediction.
The relative merits of both of these forms of data are the subject of much heated
debate. On one hand, qualitative methods are seen to most certainly increase
understanding but they are often criticized as being biased, subjected to the question,
‘Well, now that we understand, so what?(Pearson et al, 2007). On the other hand,
quantitative methods are seen to give an apparently unbiased, objective picture of a
situation or phenomenon, but they are often criticized as being ‘only half the story’ or
of being overly concerned with numbers and statistics (Pearson et al, 2007). Central to
the debate however, must be the paradigmatic stance from which the researcher
works, and the stance from which the consumer of research reads. As long as the
method is consistent with, or true to, the paradigm that underpins the research, and is
the appropriate method to address the research question, in theory the debate becomes
redundant. However, the debate still continues to rage largely because of deeply
entrenched allegiances to a particular paradigm.
The research question influences the research methodology, which influences the way
in which data is collected and analysed, as the methods are also dependent on the
methodology adopted. Table 1 identifies a range of methodological approaches, which
are consistent with the philosophical view of knowledge embodied in each paradigm
and may guide staff in the appraisal of evidence.
Table 1. Paradigms, methodologies and methods for research studies (Pearson et
al, 2007)
Methodology
Method
Randomized controlled
trials
Cohort studies
Case series studies
Time series studies
Methods that measure outcomes such as
temperature, blood pressure, and attitudes
Methods that measure outcomes (as above)
Methods that measure outcomes (as above)
Methods that measure outcomes (as above)
Phenomenology
Historiography
Ethnography
Grounded theory
Interviews
Textual analysis; interviews; participant
observation; interviews of key informants
Textual analysis; interviews; participant
observation; interviews of key informants
Participant observation; interviews
Action research
Feminist research
Participative group interaction; observation;
interviews
Participative group interaction; observation;
interviews
Review protocols are vital to ensuring practices are based on the most current
research evidence. Criteria should be set for retrieval of the evidence so each team
member identifies areas for grading and grading criteria sheets should be given to
each staff member to complete on relevant studies. Addressing areas of effectiveness,
appropriateness and feasibility, Table 2 highlights the areas and criteria involved. A
three-tier grading system can be used: A. Strong support that merits application, B.
Moderate support that merits application, C. Not supported (Joanna Briggs Institute,
2008).
Table 2. Grading criteria
Area
Concern
Criteria
Effectiveness
Relates to whether the
intervention achieves the
intended outcomes.
• Does the intervention work?
• What are the benefits and harm?
• Who will benefit from its use?
Appropriateness
Concerned more with the
psychosocial aspects of care than
with the physiological.
• What is the experience of the consumer?
• What health issues are important to the
consumer?
• Does the consumer view the outcomes as
beneficial?
Feasibility
Addresses the broader
environment in which the
intervention is situated and
involves determining whether
the intervention can and should
be implemented.
• What resources are required for the
intervention to be successfully implemented?
• Will it be accepted and used by healthcare
workers?
• How should it be implemented?
• What are the economic implications of using
the intervention?
Step 5: Developing an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) standard
After a critique of the literature, team members come together to set recommendations
for practice. The type and strength of evidence used in practice needs to be clear
(LoBiondo-Wood and Haber, 2006) and based in the consistency of replicated studies.
The design of the studies and recommendations made should be based on identifiable
benefits and risks to the patients. This sets the standard of practice guidelines,
assessments, actions, and treatment as required. These will be based on the group
decision, considering the relevance for practice, its feasibility, appropriateness,
meaningfulness, and effectiveness for practice (Pearson et al, 2007). To support
evidence-based practice, guidelines should be devised for the patient group, health
screening issues addressed, and policy and procedural guidelines devised highlighting
frequency and areas of screening. Evidence-based practice is ideally a patient centred
approach, which when implemented is highly individualized. However, poor
implementation has the potential to give rise to ‘cookbook care’ where clinical
guidelines are used simply as a recipe for healthcare delivery without due
consideration for the individual patient (Pearson et al, 2007). Any practice failing to
consider the preferences of the individual patient is not evidence-based, so a
partnership approach is needed which takes into account patient autonomy, choice and
preference to be expressed (van Hooren et al, 2002).
Step 6: Implementing EPB
For implementation to occur, aspects such as written policy, procedures and
guidelines that are evidence-based need to be considered (LoBiondo-Wood and
Haber, 2006). There needs to be a direct interaction between the direct care providers,
the organization, and its leadership roles (eg. nurse managers) to support these
changes (Retsas, 2000; Nagy et al. 2001; Berwick 2003; LoBiondo-Wood and Haber,
2006). The evidence also needs to be diffused and should focus on its strengths and
perceived benefits (Berwick, 2003; Rogers, 2003), including the manner in which it is
communicated (Rogers, 1995; Titler and Everelt, 2001). This can be achieved through
in-service education, audit and feedback provided by team members (Jamtvedt et al,
2004; Titler, 2004). Social and organizational factors can affect implementation and
there needs to be support and value placed on the integration of evidence into practice
and the application of research findings (Gagan and Hewitt-Taylor, 2004; Pearson et
al, 2007).
Step 7: Evaluation
Evaluation is essential to seeing the value and contribution of the evidence into
practice. A baseline of the data before implementation would benefit, as it would
show how the evidence has contributed to patient care. Audit and feedback through
the process of implementation should be conducted (Thomson O Brien et al, 2003;
Jamtvedt et al, 2004) and success will not be achieved without support from frontline
leaders and the organization (Baggs and Mick, 2000; Carr and Schott, 2002; Stetler,
2003). Evaluation will highlight the programme’s impact but its consistency can only
be assessed against an actual change occurring and having the desired effect (Pearson
et al, 2007). For any change to take place, barriers that could hinder its progress need
to be identified. Information and skill deficit are common barriers to evidence-based
practice. A lack of knowledge regarding the indications and contraindications, current
recommendations, and guidelines or results of research, has the potential to cause
nurses to feel they do not have sufficient training, skill or expertise to implement the
change (Pearson et al, 2007). Lack of awareness of evidence will inhibit its translation
into practice (Scullion, 2002). A useful method for identifying perceived barriers is
the use of a force field analysis conducted by the team leader. Impact evaluation,
which relates to the immediate effect of the intervention, should be carried out
(Naidoo and Wills, 2002). However, some benefits may only become apparent after a
considerable period of time. This is known as the sleep effect. On the contrary, the
back-sliding effect could also occur where the intervention has a more or less
immediate effect, which decreases over time. If we evaluate too late, we will miss
measuring the immediate impact. Even if we do observe the early effect, we cannot
assume it will last (Green, 1977; Nutbeam, 1998). Therefore, evaluation should be
carried out at different periods during and following the intervention.
Conclusion
The effectiveness of clinical care and treatment is central to the quality of health care
(Thompson, 2000) and providing a high quality care based on best practice is the
responsibility of nurses. In many clinical settings, nurses are under increased time
pressure and evidence-based practice may fail, having a low priority among
competing duties (Lawrie et al, 2000; Bhandari et al, 2003; Frost et al, 2003; Thomas
et al, 2003). Quality improvement is often seen as an additional task to an already
busy workload (Long, 2003). However, it may be that nurses perceive activity to be a
more worthy use of time than seeking evidence upon which to act (Gagan and Hewitt-
Taylor, 2004). For evidence-based practice to be implemented, this value system and
the norms that lead to it need to be addressed as a priority, and this is the
responsibility of each practitioner in any given situation (Gagan and Hewitt-Taylor,
2004). As the largest group providing care to patients and having the most contact
with them, nurses have the opportunity to influence the course of their illness and
recovery. If care is not evidence-based, the potential of harm increases (Newell and
Burnard, 2006). Therefore, nurses must actively engage in reading, critiquing and
grading the evidence to continually challenge the practice.
Key points
Nurses need to continuously update their knowledge and act from an
evidence-based approach rather than working solely from practice wisdom.
There is a constant challenge for nurses in the practice setting to provide
measurable care and outcomes of the highest standard in an evidence-based
manner.
Evaluation of evidence and development of evidence-based practice will
empower nurses.
Collective work and the use of tools such as the IOWA model can assist
nurses with EBP.
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... They are built upon critical steps or phases that need to be followed or focused upon in order to reach successful implementation. These main phases or steps can either be aimed at the implementation process itself (31,32) or at the process of using research to initiate change (42,51). In such models, key drivers or components tend to be highlighted that are necessary for change (33,49) and/or they have a thorough focus on those strategies that will lead to sustainable change, which is referred to as general implementation strategies (31), transfer strategies (30), capacity-building strategies (32) et cetera. ...
... Most models require that intervention designers synthesize existing evidence (38,39,42,44), or that they conduct their own (discovery) research (44,46). This will lead to either a theory (38), approach or practice (46), or research findings that can be translated into an evidence based practice (EBP) standard (42) or guidelines (44). ...
... Most models require that intervention designers synthesize existing evidence (38,39,42,44), or that they conduct their own (discovery) research (44,46). This will lead to either a theory (38), approach or practice (46), or research findings that can be translated into an evidence based practice (EBP) standard (42) or guidelines (44). Other models have a different focus and depart from the idea of planning (26) for an intervention or a more general exploration phase (22,45). ...
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... The "problem-focused trigger" is present within the student body, with the students showing significant levels of stress and anxiety. A "knowledge-based trigger" is revealed in the lack of education on the importance of using available mental health resources and the stigma which psychologically limits students from accessing mental health services (Doody & Doody, 2011;Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2015). (Goh & Agius, 2010;Hazelden Foundation, 2008;Zubin & Spring, 1977). ...
... The focus of this project is the gap in the help-seeking of mental health services by students in a college setting. The Iowa Model of EBP guided the process of discovery and learning about mental health from macro to micro-level through a systematic method of inquiry(Doody & Doody, 2011). the DNP-scholar developed a hearty project proposal to meet the needs of this vulnerable population.The unfolding the literature was central to the development of the DNP project, determining what was already known about college students and their attitudes and behaviors around issues of mental health. ...
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Abstract IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS, IN OUR OWN VOICE EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTION ON STIGMA ATTITUDES REGARDING MENTAL ILLNESS IN A COLLEGE SETTING by Bethany Ann Thrasher Background: The WHO estimates depression will be the number one cause of disease burden globally by 2030. In the United States, mental health illness is a priority concern for adults 18 to 24 years. Approximately 75% of all mental illness surface by age 24 years, yet only 64% of college students experiencing mental illness seek treatment. Early identification and access to treatment for mental health care is essential for college student. Stigma associated with mental illness remains a barrier to help-seeking. Implementing a contact-based strategy to reduce stigma produces change in attitudes surrounding mental illness and improves health outcomes. Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of a contact-based educational intervention on stigma attitudes concerning mental illness in a college setting. Methods: Pre- and Post-survey were conducted during a college orientation to evaluate students stigmatizing attitudes towards people with mental illness. The participants completed the Stigma Evaluation Survey (SES) before and after the National Alliance on Mental Illness, In Our Own Voice presentation. Descriptive statistics of participants include age, gender, ethnicity, education, and experience with persons with a mental illness. Results: Independent t-test showed significant decrease in the SES aggregate mean scores from pre-intervention (M= 47.18, SD=8.90) to post-intervention (M= 43.20, SD= 6.99) conditions; t(92)= 2.39, p = .019. The SES survey is a 20-item Likert scale with subscale areas: Stereotyped Attributions, Expressions of Social Distance, and Feelings of Social Responsibility towards people with mental illness. The SES subscale, Expressions of Social Distance for the female participants p = .002. Participants with experiences with mental illness experienced a drop in stigma with Expressions of Social Distance, p = .009, and Stereotyped Attributions, p = .041. Conclusions: Contact-based educational interventions targeting stigma in higher education are essential in advancing sustainable processes to reduce stigma and improve mental health. The In Our Own Voice presentation is effective in reducing stigma and improving attitudes of college students even when delivered virtually. Significance: By understanding the factors that produce stigma in college settings, institutions can improve help-seeking behavior. Enhancing academic outcomes will promote the mental health and wellness of college students. Keywords: College students, Mental disorders, Social stigma, Stigma, Contact-based
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