A graduate of Kent State University, Mariah Long, MSN, RN, AGAC-NP, is currently employed at Mercy Medical Center. Based on her experiences, she stresses the importance of evidence-based practice to providing optimal care for patients, and offers advice to others nurses.
Throughout my entire educational and professional course, the importance and expectation of continual learning was always evident. What has been more evident is the necessity of it in the workplace. I currently work in an Intensive Care Unit where evidence-based practice leads our team and our entire system. We are each, individually, held to a high standard of providing the best care possible to our patients and we do this with proven data. This is the essence of evidence-based practice and has been very apparent during the pandemic we are all experiencing.
Of course, initially there was not much information about COVID-19, but through research and sharing practice insight, we have learned a significant amount about the disease and treatments. We have since incorporated the treatments into our practice and in that, we have witnessed improvement in patient outcomes.
It can be dangerous for both providers and patients if we, as healthcare providers, become stagnant. We should always be asking questions--searching. I have been perceived as a leader and I attribute this to my willingness to learn. I absorb as much information as I can from experiences in my day-to-day activities, but I also ask a lot of questions. Knowing the “why” of what we do helps me incorporate them better into my care for patients. I encourage nurses to be ambitious and driven, always ask questions and LISTEN to the answer, soak up the information and then put it into practice.
I believe knowing and understanding the importance of education and evidence-based practice is how and why I have advanced my education to a master’s degree, passed boards, and now I am transitioning into a Nurse Practitioner role—continuing my path as a forever learner. Additionally, as a leader, I am willing to teach what I learn. I take what I know and pass it on. I implore nurses to ask questions and continue to learn. We have the ability to make changes in our profession and make positive impacts on our patients.