Evidence-Based Care versus Opinion-Based and Ritual-Based Care


Evidence based nursing is the use of research findings in nursing practices to improve the quality of the administered nursing care (Stevens, 2013). Evidence in this context, therefore, refers to researched and documented information whose credibility has been ascertained through a peer review process. The nurses consult the most contemporary research information and try to implement the findings that are going to significantly improve the quality of the nursing care. The research evidence used is one that has been generated through a rigorous methodology and data analysis and approved through a peer review mechanism (Makic et al, 2013). Ritual-based nursing care, on the other hand, follows nursing procedures that have been designed and been used for a long time. Here nurses implement directions without questioning their reasons or effectiveness. Individually held opinions and rituals, therefore, are being practiced without acknowledgement of the reason for their practice. Evidence based nursing practice is aimed at achieving the provision of the highest quality of nursing care. It is more effective than relying on the traditional diagnosing and treatment methods since it employs contemporary knowledge during the decision making process (McCrae, 2011). Of late, nurses are increasingly giving evidence-based nursing care preference over ritual-based and opinion-based. This paper critically analyses why this is so. It will do so by pointing out the importance and benefits of relying on research evidence and showing the implications of evidence-based practice on nurses and their profession.

Evidence-Based Care versus Opinion-Based and Ritual-Based Care

There are several reasons why most nurses prefer to use evidence-based nursing models as opposed to opinion-based or ritual-based care models. first reason is that, evidence based nursing care allows for designing of healthcare interventions that are less prone to errors as compared to ones that are reliant on rituals and opinions (Reay, Berta and Kohn, 2009). Nursing is noble profession whose main objective is to ensure the well-being of the citizens. It, therefore, becomes critical for nurses that the decisions made be based on evidence and be as error-proof as possible. The best possible way to achieve this is by using information that has been generated through a rigorous research process and has been scrutinized by peers for credibility and reliability (McCrae, 2011). Ritual-based care and opinion-based care, oftentimes, do not incorporate professional advice in decision making. This increases the probability of making a wrong decision, for example, an erroneous diagnosis that may lead to complications and even the death of a patient.

Secondly, nursing care based on evidence from records can be collated from a diverse range of disciplines (Stevens, 2013). This increases the prevalence of making better, informed decisions. Rituals are usually based on a certain cultures. The rituals may have a scientific basis or not (Eizenberg, 2010). Even if they have, technological advancements very easily render them obsolete. Additionally, opinions are usually held by an individual. Even professionals at the same institution can have differing opinions on a subject and the different opinions cannot all be correct, most of them are wrong or ineffective. Therefore, most of the times, decisions made based on researched evidence is more effective as it was generated using a holistic approach as compared to ritual-based or opinion-based (Askham and Chisholm, 2006).

Thirdly, evidence-based nursing care allows for standardisation of the nursing practices and procedures across the globe (Makic et al, 2013). One of the main advantages of standardisation is that it allows for flexibility for nurses. Evidence-based nursing relies on research studies that are performed to global standards. This means that the findings have a universal outlook and application (Linton and Prasun, 2013). Nurses can change their locations and work stations and still be able to apply the findings anywhere around the global. Ritual-based care is restricted to a particular country or location and, therefore, has no universal application (McCrae, 2011). Opinion-based decisions are worse because opinions change depending to an individual and time. Apart from the desire to have a worldwide application of nursing practices, standardisation also enables the rationalisation of nursing teaching curricula across different countries worldwide (Eizenberg, 2010). This is because the teachings are based on researches that are evidence-based and can be proven anywhere in the world. The same cannot be said of rituals and opinions. An educational curriculum teaching based on rituals and opinions cannot have even a continental application. Additionally, teaching opinions and rituals is hard and cannot be applied globally in a standardised manner (Reay, Berta and Kohn, 2009). Global cooperation in the health sector is imperative to improve the quality of nursing care for patients in the world. A country cannot survive on its own. Evidence-based research and nursing practices provide an apt vehicle to achieve and obtain quality medical services.

Evidence-based nursing care, unlike ritual-based and opinion-based, keeps pace with the latest technological advancements and research knowledge (Stevens, 2013). The information used to design the medical interventions has been tested and proven through trials. Evidence is, thus, the latest credible information on the subject under consideration. Rituals and opinions lack this element of newness. The rituals and opinions that were being performed and held decades ago are still the same in some countries and cultures (Makic et al, 2013). They are not changing to accommodate the rapid-changing medical sphere. For instance, there are mosquitoes that have developed resistance to some of the drugs administered to treat malaria. If a doctor still uses a drug that is now ineffective, his or her patients cannot be said to be receiving the best quality nursing care since the nurse is not utilizing the best medical care that there is. This happens mostly when a doctor makes opinion-based and or ritual-based diagnoses. However, if the nurse is up-to-date, he or she will be able to determine that there are better anti-malaria drugs that have been invented that are more powerful. This happens when the nurse consults the research studies conducted. Evidence-based nursing care, therefore, easily becomes the most effective as compared to the other two.

Additionally, evidence based nursing care saves on treatment cost (Eizenberg, 2010). This is unlike opinion-based and ritual-based nursing interventions which can, at best, be termed as trial and error treatment methods. This is because the decisions made by those nurses are not backed by hard evidence (Stevens, 2013). Even if there is evidence, it is credible since it has not undergone the rigorous process of peer reviewing where it can be criticized and any shadow of doubt pointed out. On the other hand, extensive researches enable development of cost-effective means of treatment.  There is less wastage of time and resources as during the trial and error treatment processes. This is because the research processes have allowed for exploration of cheaper means of medical interventions. Also, patients’ confidence in a research-based nursing care is more than in ritual-based or opinion-based nursing care (Linton and Prasun, 2013). This is because they perceive nurses who make decisions based on hard evidence to be informed and knowing what they are doing. Of course, it is important for patients to have confidence in the treatment process because it has a huge bearing on their chances of responding to the treatment being administered (Cribb and Entwistle, 2011). Patient’s treatment is as much physical and physiological as it is psychological. It is, thus, important that patients approve of the treatment option being explored and have confidence in it.

Lastly, evidence-based nursing care allows for tailored, individualised and streamlined nursing care (Carmelli, Sheaffer and Halevi, 2009). Patients are unique and different. Medical interventions cannot be applied equally across the board. The unique patient’s values and ability to respond to a certain mode of treatment should be considered when designing a care intervention. Evidence from research studies enables this tailor making. On the other hand, rituals and opinions held, oftentimes, need to be applied uniformly across the board and, therefore, do not offer tailored treatment to individual patients. For instance, one of the programmes in the UK health care that fosters the service users’ involvement is cognitive behavioural therapy employed in the field of psychotherapy (Askham and Chisholm, 2006). Here, the patients are actually active participants in deriving solutions for their mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and other personality disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorders among others. If no such intervention existed in psychotherapy, all patients with mental health needs would have been given the same psychotherapy treatment regardless of an individual’s mental health need. In the end those interventions may be ineffective.