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Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing Fuels Job Satisfaction

Evidence-based practice can rejuvenate your career or indicate that it’s time for a change.

According to the American Nurses’ Association (ANA), evidence-based practice in nursing means providing quality care based on the latest research and knowledge. This approach not only improves and streamline workflows — it prioritizes safety and outcomes for patients.

However, research has shown that evidence-based practice in nursing can also be a tool to enhance and gauge career satisfaction. It can revitalize your passion for your specialty, inspire you to take the next step in your career, or motivate you to create change in your current role. Applying the same insight you gain from evidence-based practice can help you develop an evidence-based career.

Transforming your practice

There’s a cascade of research spilling from the work of nurses, scientists, and researchers. Because of this, nurses’ skills and training are continuously evolving. This means nurses adapt their practice to new clinical evidence to give patients safer, more individualized experiences.

Researchers have explored every nursing specialty, changing the way things are done. Evidence has rightfully raised questions about almost every traditional practice. For example, in wound care, data has shown that repositioning patients reduces the risk of pressure injuries.

And while evidence-based practice in nursing transforms patient care, research-related changes can provide a rejuvenating effect for some. A new workflow could highlight aspects of your role that you’ve never considered.

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For instance, a new piece of technology may be introduced that could spawn an interest in exploring tech applications within your organization, leading to interest in other areas like nursing informatics. With constant new evidence disrupting or transforming old practices, it presents an opportunity to dive deeper into your practice and explore more about your role and organization.

Knowing when to move on

New evidence not only pivots practice, it also informs nurses’ careers. Organizational research provides indicators for when nurses should consider leaving their current jobs, switching roles within their career, or searching for change to invigorate their current situation (e.g., going back to school, networking, or joining a professional organization).

Though changes in evidence-based practices can influence one’s job satisfaction, so do mental health conditions. Burnout is unfortunately one of the more common conditions that impact nurses and other healthcare professionals, which has been precisely measured for decades. And nurses who say they are burnt out are not just turning a phrase.

Instruments such as the Maslach Burnout Inventory — Medical Personnel Form rate healthcare professionals’ responses to statements like “I feel emotionally drained from my work,” “I have accomplished many worthwhile things in this job,” and “I don’t really care what happens to some patients.” Surveys like this provide signals of job fatigue. It brings to light concepts such as intent to leave and can indicate that it’s time to change jobs long before you consciously think you’re ready to make a switch.

Other ways of measuring satisfaction

In addition to surveys that gauge one’s mental health, there are those that provide evidence of when things are going well in a career by measuring job satisfaction. Several instruments are available that look at nurses’ perceptions about their jobs. A few examples are the American Nurses’ Association Workplace Survey as well as Nurse.com’s Nurse Salary Research Report.

These reports measure items including workplace well-being, compensation, work-life balance, job satisfaction, work environment, and career advancement. Both the questions and responses on these topics give you insights on how your peers feel and help you evaluate your own work situation.

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Here are a few simple steps to make sure that evidence guides both your practice and your career:

  • Join your specialty’s professional organization and attend events that report the latest practices.
  • Subscribe to specialty journals to stay informed of evidence-based changes in practice and relevant research articles when they arrive.
  • Recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and those around you. You may or may not be able to help a colleague, but you can do something about yourself. Feeling overly drained, frustrated, or fatigued on a regular basis may signal that you should evaluate your future in your present position. Nursing has more career options than many other professions — take advantage of that.
  • Examine your employment situation for indicators of job satisfaction by observing the professionals around you. Do your colleagues seem happy? Do they smile? Do they participate in work group activities, such as shared governance councils or committees, or informal gatherings outside of work? If the people around you are satisfied in their work environment, chances are, you are too. And if you’re not, maybe your coworkers will influence your everyday satisfaction and help you to become more enthused.

Final thoughts

New evidence surges on to clinical areas every day through professional organizations, literature, and educators. Take time to examine and apply it to not only your practice, but also your career. It will fuel your enthusiasm for your profession and your job, as well as others around you. If it doesn’t help you in your present employment, it may open the door to better opportunities.

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Whether you’re actively seeking a new role or assessing your next steps, explore Nurse.com’s job marketplace to help match your experience and skills to the best-fitting role.

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