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Evidence-Based Practice for Advanced Practice Emergency Nurses, Part II: Critically Appraising the Literature

Shapiro, Susan E. PhD, RN, CEN; Donaldson, Nancy A. RN, DNS, FAAN

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal: April-June 2008 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 139–150
doi: 10.1097/01.TME.0000319924.12721.23

ABSTRACT This article, the second in a series designed to acquaint the advanced practice emergency nurses with essential knowledge and skills for implementing evidence-based practice, focuses on the process of critical appraisal. In this article, we purposefully differentiate critical appraisal from research critique and illustrate how it relates to implementing evidence-based practices. This article provides tools to assist the advance practice emergency nurse in answering 3 fundamental questions: (a) When is the evidence good enough to use the results? (b) Are the findings applicable in my setting? and (c) If I adopt this practice, what will it mean to my patients? The article ends with an introduction to the process of synthesizing evidence, determined through appraisal to be important and useful, into a proposed evidence-based practice change.

From the Department of Nursing, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, (Dr. Shapiro); and Center for Research and Innovation in Patient Care, UCSF School of Nursing, San Francisco (Dr Donaldson).

Corresponding author: Susan E Shapiro, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 94143 (e-mail:

The authors have no conflict of interest.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.