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Using Evidence Based Nursing in Practice: EBN in Practice

Created by Health Science Librarians

Guide Note

This guide is being updated and integrated into the Evidence-Based Nursing guide located at


The purpose of the EBN process is to help you as a professional make informed decisions by learning from what others in your field are researching and learning. Using these set steps makes it easier to apply current quality evidence from research in clinical and healthcare decisions. 

This website and the resources listed will help to guide you through the 5 steps of the EBN process. Click on each step to find out more information.

Evidence Based Nursing is a Five-Step Process

The 5 "A's" will help you to remember the EBN process:

  1. ASK:  Information needs from practice are converted into focused, structured questions.
  2. ACQUIRE:  The focused questions are used as a basis for literature searching in order to identify relevant external evidence from research.
  3. APPRAISE:  The research evidence is critically appraised for validity.
  4. APPLY: The best available evidence is used alongside clinical expertise and the patient's perspective to plan care.
  5. ASSESS:  Performance is evaluated through a process of self reflection, audit, or peer assessment.


Other Evidence Based Nursing Guides

Interested in learning more about EBN?  This guide is linked reciprocally with two other evidence based nursing guides that you may find useful.  You can access them from the links below, or through the links on the Other EBN Guides tab at the top of any of the three EBN guides.


Information about these steps were referenced from:

1) Duke University - Evidence-Based Medicine Workshop April 2003
2) Flemming K. Asking answerable questions [editorial]. Evidence-Based Nursing 1998 Apr;1:36-7.

Guide Authors:

  • Julia Shaw-Kokot
  • Lisa Philpotts