• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Research and Enquiry (BN) "Applying Research to Interoperative Care"

Free essay example:

University of Portsmouth

Portsmouth Institute of Medicine, Health & Social Care

Diploma in Higher Education Operating Department Practice / Registered ODP

2001 – 2003

Unit: Research and Enquiry (BN)

Title: Applying Research to Interoperative Care

Diploma in Higher Education Operating Department Practice/RODP



NAME: Research and Enquiry (BN)

TITLE OF ASSIGNMENT: Applying Research to Interoperative Care

YEAR: Year 2

DATE: 30 May 2003

I affirm that this Assignment together with any supporting artefact is offered for assessment as my original and unaided work, except in so far as any advice and/or assistance from any other named person in preparing it, and any quotation used from written sources are duly and appropriately acknowledged.

Signature of course member:…………………………………………..



Introduction……………………………………………………………………...Page 1

What is Evidence Based Practice………………………………………………..Page 2

What is Clinical Governance…………………………………………………….Page 2

Applying Research to Interoperative Care..……………………………………..Page 4

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………...Page 11

References……………………………………………………………….……..Page 12

Word Count: 2144

Applying Research to Interoperative Care


This assignment is written by a student operating department practitioner (ODP) based in a hospital on the south coast of Britain. I plan to describe what evidence-based practice is and how it developed. I will look at the implications for practice in operating theatres of an evidence-based regime. I will also discuss ways in which evidence-based practice may be implemented in operating theatres.

What is Evidence Based Practice?

Historically, the theory of evidence based medicine (EBM) originates back to mid-19th century Paris and earlier. Sackett, Rosenberg, Gray, Haynes & Richardson 1996, P.71 describes EBM as:

is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of EBM means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research

So, more generally, evidence based Practice (EBP) is the application of such principles across the broad field of health care. Muir Gray (1997) describes EBP as:

“an approach to decision-making in which the clinician uses the best evidence available”

What is Clinical Governance?

Clinical governance is a framework to ensure that all NHS organisations have proper processes for monitoring and improving clinical quality. It aims to safeguard high standards of care and create a working environment where excellence can flourish (DoH 1998). As part of the arrangements for clinical governance, chief executives of NHS trusts in England found themselves legally responsible for clinical quality.

Clinical governance has been put in place to tackle the wide differences in the quality of care throughout the country, and to help to address public concern about well-publicised cases of poor professional performance. Scally and Donaldson (1998) maintain that Clinical Governance will bring together a number of existing methods for improving quality, including:

- Getting research into practice.

- Collecting information to measure performance against standards.

- Providing ongoing education for all healthcare professionals.

- Managing and learning from complaints”.

The government expects the principles of clinical governance to 'apply to all those who provide or manage patient care services in the NHS' (DoH 1998).

Applying Research to Interoperative Care

The theory-practice gap in nursing has been referred to, in the past, as a problem for nurses, both for those in academia and those in clinical practice (Thomson, 1998). Rolfe (1998) seems to suggest that the problem is so bad as to be putting lives at risk. He uses the example of the use of research in civil engineering to illustrate the problem. That is, that if engineers do not use research, then buildings and bridges will fall down with the result that people will die (McKenna, 1995).

The aim of research is to generate knowledge (Rolfe, 1998). Practitioner education has undergone great change as a result of research and academic practitioners are now firmly established (Mulhall, 1998). It remains the case that practitioner research has only a minimal impact on clinical practice.

If theatre practitioners are to offer care that is research-based, then it is necessary for a mechanism to be in place that allows and encourages them to do just that. The latest attempt to bridge the theory-practice gap is evidence based practice (EBP). This is happening, not just in the field of theatre practitioners but also in general nursing and the various disciplines of medicine.

Sackett et al (1996, P.71), describe evidence-based medicine as a conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual clients. Although this description makes it clear that evidence based medicine (EBM) is best practice, it is also clear to the practitioner, that the practitioner or doctor is responsible for making decisions about care. Sackett et al (1996) go on to say that EBM is an integration of individual clinical expertise and the best available external evidence from systematic research. The individual gains knowledge, not just from acquiring research, but from their own experience, clinical practice and past situations. The patient is also central to Sackett et al (1996) description of EBM. They realise that the patient has rights and preferences about their clinical journey. Sackett et al (1996) recognise that a more thoughtful interaction with clients is as important as effective and efficient diagnosis.

Royle and Blythe (1998) also describe an integration between the best evidence from research, clinical expertise, patient preferences and adds the element of existing resources. These all go together into a decision making process about individual patient health care. The introduction of available research resources into the integration is important. The author’s belief is that available resources should be influenced by evidence-based practice. If a particular environment or training is based on the evidence of best research, we can say we are offering value for money, even if that environment or training is not the cheapest option available.

Flemming (1998) suggests that evidence-based nursing (EBN) is a five stage process: ii) Information needs from practice are converted into focused structured questions,

ii) The focused questions are used as a basis for literature searching in order to identify relevant external evidence from research,

iii) The research evidence is critically appraised for validity and generalisability,

iv) The best available evidence is used alongside clinical expertise and the patient's perspective to plan care,

v) Performance is evaluated through a process of self-reflection, audit or peer assessment. Evidence-based nursing is a process, then, that should make it easier to incorporate current best evidence into clinical decision making.

Sackett et al (1996) are aware that the clinician is responsible for the decision making and that practice cannot be based purely on research. Preoperative care is not an exact science and frequently involves complex relationships between practitioner and client. I suggest it would be difficult to dissect accurately this relationship into scientifically measurable items for research. The care that we’re providing can be criticised by people looking at research and comparing the care situation to it, unless an experienced practitioner guides and complements it. However, to remain up-to-date and to use good new ideas, and to avoid becoming fixed in traditional routines, we need the best evidence from research.

If we are to promote evidence-based nursing as a useful practice for clinicians, then we have to be clear on what we mean by evidence-based nursing. Some of the new journals now appearing to promote EBN, seem to bypass any discussion as to what evidence is. They regurgitate descriptions of research, suggesting what is the most useful research; in terms of how that research is carried out. That is, they emphasise and explain randomised control trials (RCT), frequently called ‘The Gold Standard’. Few describe what theatre practitioners should be looking for in an article, to raise the level of evidence-based nursing.

Walsh (1998) attempts to describe what is meant by evidence and how an interpretation of evidence has also to take account of what we mean by a clinical decisions. When declaring they use EBN, practitioners are claiming to base their practice on truth and rightness (Walsh, 1998). If we are to implement EBN, then each practitioner claiming to do so must, therefore, know that for the client that they are dealing with, the diagnosis must be correct, the clinical plan effective, and that the evaluation is undertaken in an appropriate manner. The practitioner should also be able to provide evidence to prove that this is trustworthy and sincere (Walsh, 1998). A definition can, therefore, be given that clinical evidence consists of contestable facts, experience and information offered to support the distinct claims that a clinical course of action is intelligible, truly effective, morally acceptable and sincerely intended (Walsh, 1998).

Mulhall (1998) discusses a practitioner having different ways of knowing and different kinds of knowledge. The practitioner uses his/her knowledge of the physiological body, knowledge of the person as a social creature, and also knowledge gained from being a practitioner and performing their role. Therefore much of the evidence for what we do is not formalised in research. For some of the interactions that happen between practitioners and clients, practitioners may use very unscientific and emotional language about how they feel whilst knowing what direction they should take. To take theatre practitioners further, we need to find more accurate ways of defining “knowledge”. The task is to find effective methods of research to prove that what they do is useful (House of Lords, 1995). A. Sargant (Personal communication, August 9, 1998) explains that practitioners are expected to justify their actions to themselves, their peers, patients and the law. This may lead to some practitioners working ‘by the book’, whatever that book might be. If ‘the book’ is the only reference practitioners have, there could be the death of creativity A. Sargant (Personal communication, August 9, 1998).

Interoperative care appears to produce fewer examples of research than general nursing as have been described as contributing to EBN. In the author’s own searches on the internet, the author could find many sites dedicated to evidence-based practice in one form or another. Much of that available under the evidence-based, interoperative banner was very medical, that is, it was evidence-based medicine. Also, much of this evidence was concerned with diagnosis and prognosis.

Practitioners should be determined to provide highly individualised care where the individual is considered unique and deserving of quality nursing (Radwin, 1995). If we base practitioner care on research findings that offer the best overall care for a particular client group, we are bound to offer inferior care to those who do not fit into the group exactly.

Practitioners, who incorporate their knowledge of research evidence into practice, do so by using their own expertise (Benner, 1984). This involves a decision making process. There is an assumption that the process of making a decision is obvious (Walsh, 1998). Walsh defines clinical decisions as clinical actions aimed at mastering clinical situations.

For EBP to become a naturalised part of perioperative care, there is a need, not just for educationalists, clinicians and researchers to adopt new approaches, but also for organisations to do so. The organisation must make a commitment to provide time and staff, not only to the development of EBP, but also for its continued use. A practitioner research forum made up of practitioners from various clinical areas could raise the profile of research throughout the organisation (Mitchell, 1998). The practitioners research forum may link into a multi-disciplinary forum, but for the reasons already discussed, the author believes that it is essential that perioperative care research is promoted as an endeavour in itself. It may be useful to involve user groups in the development of practitioner research. Permanent places on the practitioner research forum could be available for representatives of user groups. Quality assurance and clinical audit should be linked to EBN (Royle and Blythe, 1998). Any form of staff development policy and job description should contain duties relating to practitioner research.

The role of a practitioner research forum would not be just to promote the use of external research findings. It would put in place the structures necessary to allow practitioners to carry out research. Instead of thinking in terms of research-based practice, we should look to practice-based research to provide knowledge of the practitioner-patient relationship. This means that if practitioners are unhappy with, or cannot find the research to support situations they find themselves in, they can do the research themselves (Rolfe, 1998). As Stenhouse, (1985) pointed out:

“if after comparing the measurement results (of external research) with your own experience, you find yourself uncertain of judgement, then basically there’s no alternative to doing your own research”.


Evidence-based practice is being promoted by government and academies as essential to the well-being of patients. Perioperative practitioners should not believe that they are immune to the use of research, just because they believe they work in abstract relationships. Practitioners can use EBP to show that what they do is essential for individualised care, care that leaves the patient saying they feel better because of the relationship with the practitioner. The uniqueness of the clinical encounter between practitioners and patient should become the focus of evidence-based, perioperative care. Without ignoring the usefulness of large scale, generalizable studies currently favoured by research funding committees, journals and government, practitioners must strive to redirect some research in to the clinical encounter. The practitioner handover can become a tool in which external research, individual practitioners expert knowledge and practice-based research can be shared to provide evidence-based practice. The expertise of practitioners should not be ignored; experts often know more than they can say (Benner, 1984).

Research is essential in providing the best care possible for patients. Without research that is up-to-date and specialised, we become fixed in tradition and ritual. By the use of the best and most appropriate evidence for care, we offer better care. With support from individual practitioners, educationalists, academics and organisations, perioperative practitioners can use evidence-based practice to offer high quality, individualised, patient care.


AODP (2001). Code of Conduct. East Sussex: AODP

Davey, A., Ince, C.S. (Ed.). (2000). Fundamentals of Operating Department Practice. London: Oxford University Press.

Mallett, J., Bailey, C. (Ed.). (1996). Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures (4th ed.) Oxford: Blackwell Science

McEwen, D.R., (1996). Interoperative positioning of surgical patients. AORN Journal 63 (6) 1059-1079

Taylor, M., Campbell, C. (2000). Back To Basics: Perioperative Practice Principles. London: NATAN

Great Britain. Department of Health. (1998). A First Class Service. Quality in the new NHS. London: The Stationery Office.

Scally, G., Donaldson, I. (1998). Clinical governance and the drive for quality improvement in the new NHS in England. British Medical Journal. 317, 61-65.

Sackett, D. L, Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A., Haynes, R. B., Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what is isn’t: it’s about integrating individual clinical expertise and the best external evidence. BMJ, 312(7023), 71-72.

Muir Gray, J. (1997). Evidence-based Healthcare: How to make health policy and management decisions. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Benner, P. (1984) From novice to expert. Addison-Wesley, Menlo Park, California. cited in Rolfe, G.(1998).

Flemming, K. (1998) Asking answerable questions. Evidence Based Nursing, April Vol 1, No 2

House of Lords (1995) Minutes of evidence taken before the select committee on science and technology - subcommittee 1: Medical research and the NHS reforms, session 1994-1995, 31 January 1995, HMSO, London.

McKenna, H.P. (1995) Dissemination and application of mental health nursing research. British Journal of Nursing, Vol 4, No 21

Mitchell, D. (1998) Power, professions and evidence based guidelines: Lessons from an organisational case study. Journal of Nursing Management, 6, 275-280.

Mulhall, A. (1998) Nursing, research and the evidence. Evidence Based Nursing, January, Vol 1, No1.

Radwin, L.E. (1995) Knowing the patient: a process model for individualised interventions. Nursing Research, 44(6) 364-370

Rolfe, G. (1998) The theory practice gap in nursing: From research-based practice to practitioner based research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 28 (3) 672-679

Royle, J., Blythe, J. (1998) Promoting research utilisation in nursing: the role of the individual, organisation and environment. Evidence Based Nursing, July, Vol 1, No 3

Sackett, D.L. et al (1996) Evidence based medicine: What it is and what it isn’t. British Medical Journal. Vol. 312, 13 January, 71-72.

Stenhouse, L. (1985) Reporting research to teachers: the appeal to professional judgement. In research as a basis for teaching. Heinmann, Oxford. cited in Rolfe, G. (1998)

Thomson, M.A. (1998) Closing the gap between nursing research and practice. Evidence Based Nursing, Implementation forum, January Vol 1, No1

Walsh, M.P. (1998) What is evidence? A critical view for nursing. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing. 2, 86-93.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Healthcare section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related University Degree Subjects allied to Medicine Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related University Degree Healthcare essays

  1. Medicine is the science and art of healing. Medicine is a science because it ...

    Salk in the early 1950's. For more information on medical research, see the article SCIENCE (The history of science). Medical education. Standards and requirements of medical education are similar in almost every country around the world. Medical studies are very demanding, requiring increasing amounts of material to be learned in a limited time.

  2. Nursing : An Example of a Clinical Incident

    Health prevention was utilized also because we were ensuring that the infants were not weaned before they were physically ready or too late. We were also preventing the children from developing any problems due to being given the wrong foods.

  1. Advanced Anaesthetic Practice (AS1) "Critical Incident"

    London: The Stationary Office. Department of Health., (2000). The NHS Plan; a plan for investment; a plan for reform. London: The Stationary Office. Dewey, J., (1916). Democracy and Education. New York: The Free Press. Findley, I., Chamberlin, G. (1999). ABC of labour care: Relief of Pain. British Medical Journal 318(7188) 927-930 Harris, J., (1996). Animating learning in teams.

  2. The Effectiveness of Brief Interventions in Reducing Binge

    in an accident in which someone was hurt while another 30.3% of males and 13.8% of females had broken the law with no police involvement. This is a clear indication of how alcohol causes accidents and accidental injury in the home, on the roads, in workplaces and during leisure-time activities.

  1. The aim of this assignment is to critically evaluate the biopsychosocial perspectives and influences ...

    mellitus, systemic hypertension and asthma, and concluded that genetic heritability, personal choice and environmental factors are comparably involved in the aetiology and cause of all of these disorders. The authors state that this provides evidence that alcohol (and other drug)

  2. Euthanasia - an analysis of the theories and principles which guide healthcare practice and ...

    In other words, euthanasia discriminates against those who are terminally or incurably ill by reinforcing the idea that their lives, unlike others are unimportant.

  1. An appraisal of a piece of research-based evidence relevant to healthcare practice - handwashing ...

    The research method is appropriate to the aims as it was set out to explore student nurses perceptions, which is explored through in-depth interviews about human behaviour. There could also be the influence of researcher bias as both the researchers were nurses and could of screw the results, their own

  2. I will discuss and identify a nursing skill whilst on placement. The nursing skill ...

    Step 6- First washed the patient?s face started with washing the face of the patient with the help of a washcloth. Then, moved down to his arms. Next, washed his chest, abdomen, legs, back and perineal region. In order to avoid the spread of germs made sure I utilized the separate clean cloth for each body part.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work