Tag Archives: search strategies

It was the best of evidence; it was the worst of evidence.

evidencebased practiceEvidence-based practice = best available evidence + expert clinical judgment + patient & family values/preferences.

When clinicians diagnose & treat based on outdated or inadequate knowledge, then outcomes are at best uncertain.  The internet itself is a poor information source; & colleagues may be no more up-to-date that you.

Good sources are the world-wide Cochrane Collaboration and the specific evidence-based Homepractice journals that are beginning to grow–these take best information from the research report all the way through clinical recommendations.   For research reports per se, PubMed is a comprehensive, U.S. tax-supported Findingsdatabase; & there when you find information that fits using your key search terms, you can also look for related articles & get full-text through interlibrary loan or online.  Another strategy is take the article that fits your clinical issue to your librarian, and ask for help in finding more research on the identical clinical issue.

While no one can read everything in the literature, everyone can read something. You can do a focused review on any particular problem.

Critical thinking:  Is there a clinical issue that you think could use a better solution?  Plug related words into PubMed & see what you can learn.question

For more information see fulltext at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC226388/

Google’s Beauty is Only Skin Deep: Go for the Database!

maxresdefaultGoogle–not to mention yahoo, bing & other web search engines–are mere popularity contests of literature.   Google Scholar is a step up, but it is still a search engine.  It can miss important articles entirely.

If you want to be sure that you are getting the BEST, you gotta look in the right place if you want to find the right articles on the right topic at the right time!Beauty contest winner

You need a Database!

Don’t believe me?  Watch “What are databases and why you need them?”(youtube 2:34)

Reputable publishers give away very few articles for free, so when you want the best literature out there you need a Database that will systematically help you to find quality articles that fit your topic.

PubMed.gov is a tax funded database that is highly comprehensive.  CINAHL is strong on nursing literature.  If you are enrolled in a university, you have access to lots of full-text articles at no added cost.  Check with your librarian if your database search is not turning up what you need–with a few hints, you could get the best.

Needle in haystackFor more info:  Look for that needle in the haystack.

Finding the Needles in the Haystacks: Evidence Hunting Efficiently & Effectively

Searching for the right evidence is an art & a science.   In an effective search, the RN: twoOnComputer

  1. Identifies excellent key words based on a clear problem statement
  2. Systematically searches the best databases for those words
  3. Keeps a record of the search strategy.

This is actually a pretty simple time-saver because it keeps you from having to repeat searches because you can’t remember where you looked!!

Let’s take an example that we used previously.  Here’s how it was laid out in PICO (which stands for Population/problem, Intervention, Comparison intervention, & Outcome)

  • Population/problem= Postoperative patients with ileus (Patient population &Problem)
  • Intervention= Gum chewing postop (Intervention to try out)
  • Comparison intervention= NPO with gradual diet progression when bowel sounds start returning
  • Outcome= Reduce time of postop ileus with sooner return to nutritious eating

We would:magnifyingGlass

  1. Using PICO, identify key concepts (words), such as “postoperative ileus” “gum chewing” and “NPO.” Note that you can pick single words or combinations of words.
  2. Search for this set of words in the very comprehensive databases of PubMed and also in CINAHL. CINAHL is more nursing specific, and PubMed is one of the most comprehensive out there. Search from MOST RECENT to earlier.  Go for only most recent 5 years unless 5 years doesn’t give you enough articles.
  3. Keep notes of exactly which words and phrases you used to search each database

This 5 minute video shows you a GREAT way to make sure that your search is complete with minimal effort. It’s an easy-peasy tracking strategy for where you’ve already looked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=233DzkmimV4&list=PLE3A977BE32CF3956

CRITICAL THINKING: What are the key words of your clinical problem of interest.  (You can choose to use PICO or not.)  Plug them into PubMed.  Did you get enough articles?QUESTION

“Watch & Learn!” – Systematic Reviews of Non-experimental Studies

Today’s top tip: Want to find the strongest research evidence for your project?   Go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed & add the strongest type of research designs as one of your search terms. For example, add the terms meta-analysis or systematic review to your other search terms. **********************************************

Now to the new!  What is a systematic review of descriptive studies? [Note: For information on stronger levels of research “I like my coffee (and my evidence) strong!)]Cat Fishbowl2

First, remember that in a descriptive study, the researcher merely watches or listens to see what is happening. Descriptive studies do not test interventions.

Second, a systematic review (not to be too silly) is a review that is done systematically in order to include all literature on a particular topic . The authors will tell us where they searched for studies, what search terms they used, and what years they searched. That way we can feel sure that all relevant articles are included.

Therefore, in a systematic review of descriptive studies the authors

  • Collect non-experimental studies related to the problem they are trying to solve,
  • Critically review them, &
  • Write up that analysis for you and me.

You won’t see a lot of numbers or statistics in these reviews of non-experimental studies.

Systematic review of descriptive studies are weaker than other levels of evidence in part because they are critical reviews of non-experimental studies in which the researchers only observed subjects. Those non-experimental studies that they are reviewing may be quantitative with results reported in numbers or qualitative with results reported in words.

Here’s an example with results reported in words (qualitative): Yin, Tse, & Wong (2015) systematically reviewed studies for what factors affect RNs giving PRN opioids in the postop period.   They searched publications 2000-2012 and ended up with 39 relevant studies. Within those 39 articles were descriptive studies that identified 4 basic influences on opioid PRN administration by RNs to postop patients: “(i) nurses’ knowledge and attitudes about pain management; (ii) the situation of nurses’ work practices in administrating range orders for opioid analgesics; (iii) factors that influenced nurses’ work practices; and (iv) perceived barriers to effective pain management from the nurse’s perspective.” [note: In this study a few of the 39 studies were experimental in which something was done to subjects and then outcomes measured, and Yin et al., commented separately on what those showed.]

Critical thinking: What are key differences between a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and a systematic review of QUESTIONdescriptive studies?

Reference found with search terms: review of descriptive studies nursing pain – Yin, H.H.,Tse, M.M., & Wong, F.K. (2015). Systematic review of the predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors which influence nursing administration of opioids in the postoperative period. Japan Journal of Nursing Science, doi: 10.1111/jjns.12075.

 

How to Re-Invent the Wheel (NOT!!)

You can avoid re-inventing the wheel by checking in with top notch wheelexperts who have already examined the practice problem that you face.

In other words, it’s time to head to the library. After all that’s what the library is: the experiences and research written down by experts, who have spent a lot of time thinking about the same problem that you are facing. Really it’s pretty amazing that we have access to health professionals all over the world who are eager to help you avoid re-inventing the wheel.imagesCAGYW6WB

The best experts in the field are talking directly to you through their publications!

Of course it’s important to ask your colleagues in your own and other institutions about their ideas on the problem, but that’s not enough. You will be limited by what they happen to know; or worse you will be limited by what they don’t happen to know! Nurses on your floor can provide practical, site-specific insights, but it’s easy to see why you would want to add newest information from the top experts. That is BEST evidence.

Remember: EBP = Best evidence + Clinical judgment + Patient/family preferences/values

HOW do you find the experts in the library?

  1. The first step is to identify KEY WORDS from your PICO.
  2. Use single words or put phrases in parenthesis in your list of words (e.g., “postoperative ileus”). A librarian can help with key words, too.
  3. Google the site PubMed (PubMed is a complete database of healthcare publications)
  4. In the search box at the top of the PubMed page, type in your key words
  5. You will get a list of articles on your topic (and some related articles on the right side)
  6. Click on the box beside the ones that you want & email that list tocomputers shaking hands your facility librarian with a request to pull the complete articles for you! (Of course if you are a student with some direct access to full-text articles in a school library, then it may be quicker to get them on your own. It’s up to you, but part of your “village that it takes” might be the librarian.) [See “Take five!” if you want more on to why PubMed beats Google Scholar.]

EXAMPLE: Let’s get specific….

  • Take this problem that we have discussed before:
    • P = Postoperative patients with ileus (Population or Problem)
    • I = Gum chewing postop (Intervention to try out)
    • C = NPO with gradual diet progression when bowel sounds start returning (Comparison intervention)
    • O = Reduce time of postop ileus with sooner return to nutritious eating (Outcome that you want)
  • What are some key words from the above PICO stated problem? “Postoperative ileus” adults “gum chewing”
  • Go ahead. Pull up PubMed. Paste in the key words You should get 11 articles about gum chewing & postoperative ileus. Check the boxes of the ones you want, then…
  • Click on the “SEND TO” link near the upper right corner of the screen and email the list to the librarian with a request for full-text of the articles. (You can send to yourself, too)
  • Congratulate yourself on an EBP literature search well-started!

CRITICAL THINKING: Why wouldn’t you simply use google.com to find expert opinions?  [If you want more “data”  related to this question.  Check out“Take five!”]

FOR MORE INFO: Check out this tutorial on how PubMed works & what’s in it http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/pubmedtutorial/020_010.html You pay for PubMed through your taxes—get your $$ worth!

 

 

If The (EBP Practice Guideline) Shoe Fits, Wear It! Definitely!

If you want to solve a priority clinical problem using the best research evidence out there, you & your team have at least a couple of options:

1) You can DIY (do it yourself), which means finding, critiquing, synthesizing, and translating the research into clinical practice recommendations: OR

2) You can take advantage of experts’ work by finding evidence-based clinical practice guidelines that you can simply adopt or adapt to your setting.

Either option is good, but in this post I want to focus on option #2: Evidence-based practice guidelines.

What are practice guidelines?  Clinical practice guidelines are “systematically developed statements” that help RNs, other providers, and patients to decide on the best course of care. When the guideline authors use research to write them, then we call them evidence-based practice guidelines (http://www.agreetrust.org/resource-centre/practice-guidelines/).

What’s the advantage?  In evidence-based practice guidelines, experts have already done the hard work of finding, critiquing, synthesizing, and translating the research into practice recommendations for you.   You need only to adopt or adapt them to fit your setting, and establish a regular review time to make sure they are supporting excellent care and still in date.

Where can you find EBP practice guidelines to adopt or adapt?  A few places are:

Consider “bookmarking” these sites or adding them to your “favorites” in your internet browser.

You may even find multiple guidelines on your subject.  Then you and your team get to choose the one that BEST fits your setting & solves the clinical problem!  How cool is that?  (Note: The gold standard for critiquing guideline quality is the AGREE II tool, but ….more on that another day.)

Critical thinking exercise

  1. Go to National Guidelines Clearinghouse.
  2. Search for “family presence during resuscitation”
  3. Look at the ENA clinical practice recommendations on that page and see how strong the evidence is to support each one. (You can also take a look at the process of guideline development & the research used to support it.)
  4. Then decide how might you adopt or adapt one of those recommendations in your own setting?
  5. Have an informal conversation with a colleague about your thoughts on this.

If you can use one or more of the recommendations, you have now brought more research evidence into your practice.  Congratulations!!

“Take 5!” (minutes to learn about 4 search strategies)

“TAKE 5” minutes to learn about 4 best strategies to find nursing research articles. Watch the video at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em7b9jr-ZK8&list=PLQKD1cO-QY3Rt2PaLd3dykeL4HZo7mCZv&index=7

(Well it’s technically 5:23 minutes, but as with calories, who’s counting?)

A great place to use these 4 strategies is the highly comprehensive and reliable PubMed database. You already pay for that publicly available healthcare research database with your tax dollars, so go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ and get your money’s worth!   PubMed even has a link to show you how to use those 4 strategies specifically on PubMed. (Check that out at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/pubmedtutorial/020_340.html)

One of your search terms can be nurs* if you want a better chance of finding only nursing articles. You’ll know what that little asterisk means after you “TAKE 5!” with the first video link.

Some PubMed articles are free for you to print or save. Many are not. That means you will need to take the list of articles that you found in your search to your hospital librarian for help. OR if you have access to library databases through a school you can find full text of most articles there or order them through interlibrary loan.

If you don’t have access to library databases yourself, here’s a good way to work with a hospital librarian.

  1. Use the 4 search strategies to find relevant articles on PubMed.
  2. Give that list of articles to your librarian who is likely to have a budget and time to pull the full articles for you.
  3. If you find only one article that fits the problem you are trying to solve, you can take that article to the librarian and ask the person to find you more like that one.

Another public database is Google Scholar, but it is not as accurate or thorough. For its strengths and weaknesses and how to use it well, you might find this handout useful (https://www.dit.ie/media/library/documents/kevinst/Guide%20How%20to%20use%20Google%20Scholar.pdf).

Happy evidence hunting!