Best Practice Guidelines and Evidence Informed Practice

Patients depend on nurses to do the best on their behalf. As part of their professional accountability, nurses must continually examine the best way to deliver care and to support the health and well being of the public. Nurses working in all different areas across the health system (research, acute care, policy etc) can make use of tools to ensure that policies and practice are informed by evidence.

Two of the tools that nurses use to facilitate the use of evidence in their practice are Best Practice Guidelines, sometimes also called Clinical Practice Guidelines and Systematic Reviews.

  • Best Practice Guidelines are based on the most rigorous research available, and when research is not available, they are grounded in expert opinion and consensus.
  • Systematic Reviews are literature reviews that collect and critically analyze multiple research studies or papers. Systematic reviews give a picture of what the body of research says about a particular research, policy or clinical area.

To learn more about Best Practice Guidelines and other types of evidence informed decision making visit The Canadian Nursing Association's

The following are a number of websites with Best Practice Guideline and Systematic Review resources and tools for nurses and other health practitioners.

Made in Canada Resources:

BC Guidelines
BC Guidelines are clinical practice guidelines and protocols that provide recommendations to B.C. practitioners on delivering high quality, appropriate care to patients with specific clinical conditions or diseases. These “Made in BC” clinical practice guidelines are developed by the Guidelines and Protocol Advisory Committee (GPAC), an advisory committee to the Medical Services Commission. The primary audience for BC Guidelines is BC physicians, nurse practitioners, and medical students. However, other audiences such as health educators, health authorities, allied health organizations, pharmacists, and nurses may also find them to be a useful resource.

For information on the most recently published guidelines, visit:

Canadian Best Practices Portal
This Portal operate by the Public Health Agency of Canada provides a consolidated one-stop shop for busy health professionals and public health decision-makers. It is a compilation of multiple sources of trusted and credible information. The Portal links to resources and solutions to plan programs for promoting health and preventing diseases for populations and communities.

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Nursing Best Practice Guidelines
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario's (RNAO)best practice guidelines have been developed to support Ontario nurses in providing client care. Much of the content and related resources are useful and applicable to nurses in other jurisdictions as well. There are currently 50 published guidelines as well as a toolkits and educator's resources to support implementation. Many of these publications are available in French, among other languages.

International Resources:

United Kingdom: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offers a wide range of guidance, advice, quality standards and information services for health, public health and social care. The website also contains resources to help maximize use of evidence and guidance.

United States: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) National Guideline Clearinghouse
The National Guideline Clearinghouse supports AHRQ's mission to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable by providing objective, detailed information on clinical practice guidelines, and to further their dissemination, implementation, and use in order to inform health care decisions.

Australia: Joanna Briggs Institute
The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) is an international not-for-profit, research and development Centre within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medical at the University of Adelaide, South Australia.
The Institute collaborates internationally with over 70 entities across the world. The Institute and its Collaborating Entities promote and support the synthesis, transfer and utilization of evidence through identifying feasible, appropriate, meaningful and effective healthcare practices to assist in the improvement of healthcare outcomes globally.

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