It’s important for learners to understand and participate in evidence-based practice initiatives, of which research critiquing is a huge part.
As part of an introduction, ask learners to identify at least two questions they have about practice initiatives on their respective units. (The reason for identifying two questions is to give two options for data collection. Since this is a time-limited endeavor in the classroom, they may not be able to find enough evidence pertaining to one question. Having a back-up question gives them another option.) These questions are essentially asking, “Why do we do what we do?” There may be questions about specific treatment interventions, ethical dilemmas, or staffing ratios. There may be questions about links between educational preparation and patient outcomes. They have the freedom to ask about whatever motivates them.
After questions are identified, they may seek out resources to gather evidence to help answer their questions. You could choose to have computers available with access to various library resources or ask learners to seek out evidence on their own.
They may work alone or in teams. They may access journal articles, ask questions of proficient or expert nurses, or seek input from physicians or other healthcare team members. Asking opinions of others will be interesting, since learners will be asked to justify such opinions as evidence.
At a predetermined time, learners return to the classroom armed with their evidence. They should present their findings to the other groups of learners along with any conclusions they have formed.
Learners may present their findings in any way they choose. This type of learning activity would also work well as a debate. The possibilities are endless.
Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN