Evidence-based practice (EBP), in combination with clinical expertise and patient values and wishes, enables delivery of exceptional patient-centred care. Providing our perioperative patients care that is informed by best evidence has been proven to provide a safer and higher standard of care.

Best evidence forms the basis for standards and guidelines for nursing practice published by organisations such as Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN), Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). While perioperative nurses strive to provide the best possible care for their patients there is sometimes a ‘mismatch’ in the clinical environment when nurses revert to the use of tradition-based practices rather than providing care that has been based on best evidence that would be safer for their patients. The reasons for this are complex and involve, in part, a lack understanding of research and evidence, and a lack of time.

As higher education and a deeper understanding of and appreciation for research and evidence has been shown to enhance the uptake of evidence-based perioperative practice, good nursing leadership, encouragement and resources are needed to spearhead education in this vital area.

This discussion paper will present some of the barriers and facilitators to the provision of evidence-based care in the clinical environment. However, while researching this topic revealed a significant quantity of low-level research that provided similar findings, there was a paucity of rigorous high-level research. This indicates the need for further research in this vital area.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.