Although nursing practice problems and medical practice problems are both related to the patient and target positive patient outcomes, there are major differences between them and approaches in addressing the problems. While medical practice problems deal with disease pathology of patients, nursing practice problem encompasses issues identified with patients experiencing illness right from when nursing assessment is done and during nursing care as well as those problems discovered either through insight or intuition that will need nursing interventions (Helbig, 2018). Nursing practice problems range from patients’ reactions to illness, presenting signs and symptoms, the decline in activities of daily living and many more. Nursing interventions to those patients’ problems is holistic in approach which focuses on their care, needs and support during and after recovery.
For instance, when a patient presents with a stroke with paralysis, the physician will assess the cause of the stroke, diagnose, and treat it. Whereas, when the same patient presents with CVA, the nurse will review actual and potential problems such as the ability to perform activities of daily living, the risk for depression/ suicide/falls/pressure ulcer, pain management, need for support system and referrals. While both medical and nursing practice focuses on the patient and seeks evidence-based practice (EBP) to address the problems, nursing intervention is holistic and centers not only on the patient, but considers the physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs of the patients through problems discovered and anticipated during nursing care.
Evidence-based (EBP) care utilizes and applies the best clinical evidence, mostly from research findings and guidelines toward making patient-care decisions and ensuring positive outcomes (Dagne & Beshah, 2021). While nurses utilize EBP to address these patients’ problems, the application of PICOT (Problem/population, intervention, comparison, outcome, and time) is paramount to nursing practice problems and is effective in developing evidence-based interventions (Helbig, 2018). The PICOT question is the initial step in formulating evidence-based practice with the aim of providing safe, quality care and improving outcomes (Helbig, 2018). For example, developing a PICOT question is essential in studying the effectiveness of purposeful hourly rounding in preventing falls. Asking these questions involves gathering relevant information, validating strategies and interventions which aid in answering questions and understanding the effectiveness of EBP in addressing nursing practice problems.
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