According to the Institute of Medicine (2011), “Clinical practice guidelines are statements that include recommendations intended to optimize patient care. They are informed by a systematic review of evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options.” Nursing clinical practice guidelines provide defined best practice modalities that assist nurses in the diagnosis, management, or prevention of specific healthcare conditions, while including recommendations that are derived from the highest levels of evidence. These levels of evidence include high-quality systematic reviews of current literature, meta-analyses, or well-designed clinical trials.
Mary Atkinson Smith, DNP, FNP-BC, ONP-C, RNFA, CNOR, Nurse Practitioner, Starkville Orthopedic Clinic, Starkville, MS; Adjunct Faculty, University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, Tuscaloosa, AL.
Nancy Dahlen, RN, MSN, ONC, Nursing Supervisor, Orthopaedic Trauma Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.