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The practice of nurses incorporates theories, knowledge, research, and evidence-based practice. The interrelationship between these aspects is important, because it enables an effective practice of nursing in an environment dominated by dynamic factors like new pathogens, new technology, and increased demand for nursing services. The purpose of the current paper is to determine the interrelationship between the concepts of theory, knowledge, research, and evidence-based practice which professional nurses encounter daily in their practice. The determination of the interrelationship is important to my DNP project since it will help to identify the elements that I need to work with to achieve the objectives set in this project. The title of my project is “The Evaluation of the Role of Nurses and Education Programs in Educating Women in Preconception Period”.
Key words: theory, knowledge, research, evidence-based practice, nursing
Nurses normally use a combination of theories developed by researchers, knowledge, research, and evidence-based practice as tools to carry out their work (Kaakinen et al, 2014). However, each of these elements is different in their approach even though they are heavily interrelated. A professional nurse must understand this interrelationship since they may find themselves one or the other in their work. According to Fawcett and Garity (2009), nursing research “is a formal, systematic, and rigorous process of inquiry used to generate and test theories about the health-related experiences of human bings within their environments and about the actions and processes that nurses use in practice.” Their definition encompasses several important elements including human beings, environment, actions and processes, health, and practice, which form the basis of nursing. The aim of the current paper is to analyze how this definition aligns with my DNP project of evaluating the role of nurses and education programs in educating women in preconception period.
Fawcett and Garity’s definition provides an insight into understanding the knowledge theory about health needs of women during preconception period. As such, research provides a channel through which the knowledge found in literature is applicable to the education of women in preconception period. Furthermore, the use of evidence-based practice is also encompassed in the processes and actions which have been tested before and which incorporates the knowledge held at the time (Schmidt & Brown, 2014). By conducting a research, a specialty nurse in family health might be able to understand the emerging issues or the dynamics of needs of women during preconception period. By integrating the theories, knowledge, research, and evidence-based practice, nurses of different specialties are able to manage efficiently the findings of their research and apply effective actions and processes in addressing the clinical health information to solve the problems at hand (Kenny, 2010). In this case, the use of theories already found in literature together with research findings will provide a platform on which evidence-based practice is exercised.
Fawcett and Garity (2009) further note that theory, knowledge, rresearch, and evidence-based practice intertwine at the basic level. For instance, research leads to the development of theories; theories result into evidence-based practice; practice goes back to research. The implication is an endless cycle of learning for a practicing nurse. The challenge nurses face in understanding the interrelationship between the mentioned elements might be heavy workloads they usually have (Doran, et al, 2010). Evidence-based practice, therefore, needs to be closely linked with the research or theories concerning nurses. Regarding DNP project involving women in preconception period, this calls for the refinement of the area of study to align evidence-based practice with research underway.
The interrelationship among knowledge, theory, research, and evidence-based practice noted by Fawcett and Garity will support my project in various ways. First, it provides me with an opportunity to narrow down the subject of my project to a definite population of human beings. Women in preconception period might be a too wide population; that may require me to identify a certain age group. The second guidance is that the definition and the interrelationship among the concepts give an opportunity to engage in a professional practice based on the theories, existing knowledge, research, as well as evidence-based practice. For instance, I will review the ongoing education programs that target women in preconception period to understand how nurses have or have not participated in these programs. The knowledge of this interrelationship also makes me cognizant of the different elements that interlink in the practice of nursing and especially in educating women in preconception period.