By Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, FNP
Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do? Is it out of habit or out of institutional lore? Is it because your “institution or agency has always done it that way”? Or is there evidence to support what you are doing?
In the early 1990s the use of evidence to support best practices began initially in the field of medicine. It has since expanded to include other professions such as public health, education and social services just to name a few. The idea behind this effort is to provide transparency and to assure the public, families, clients and patients that the identified techniques, plans, and/or procedures will provide the best possible interventions and treatments. The intention of using evidence-based practice is to eliminate or minimize subjective judgment and utilize scientific evidence when developing plans of action or interventions.
What does this mean to the work we do? Certainly there is an expectation that research and analysis of data is used to objectively investigate possible solutions and interventions. Thus professionals in our fields of expertise must make a commitment to lifelong learning that includes continuously posing questions of direct and practical importance that impact the clients and families we serve. Finally, it means a willingness to give up the old and implement the new as a result of supporting evidence.
In this issue, of Pulse you will see a number of examples of how evidence-based practices are being used to support work at the state and community level. You will also have examples of the work done by our outstanding AMCHP staff on collecting and evaluating best practices and making them available to our membership. We hope the information contained in this issue will encourage our members and partners to reflect on why we do what we do and consider the evidence to support the MCH work.