About Systematic Reviews

The Importance of
Systematic Reviews in Nursing

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Systematic reviews have become an invaluable resource in promoting evidence-based practice, especially in healthcare. Since medicine is a multifaceted field that requires critical policies and decisions to be made consistently, policy-makers are in constant search of relevant and credible evidence to help them make informed decisions quickly. Fortunately, there are different types of systematic reviews that you can use for your nursing studies. In this article, you’ll learn the importance of systematic reviews in nursing.

What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review is a type of review of a precise and answerable question using analytical and reproducible techniques to identify, choose, and critically appraise the available studies. This type of review helps you to gather and evaluate important evidence that you can use to make critical decisions. So, unlike other types of reviews, a systematic review answers a specific question that’s relevant to the topic.

Therefore, you need to know how to structure a systematic review question before you start your review. The process of formulating this question is quite complex, especially since the question is the one that should guide your review. If your review is related to nursing, you should use the PICO (population, intervention, comparison, and outcome) criteria to develop your review question. PICO is mainly suitable for quantitative reviews.

There is no limit to the number of studies you can include in your systematic review. So, if you are wondering how many researchers are needed for a systematic review, just know that you can have as many as possible, provided they provide you with quality evidence.

Why Are Systematic Reviews Important in Nursing?

Currently, the main emphasis in nursing and the overall medical field is on clinical efficiency and the need to have practices that are based on verifiable knowledge acquired from research instead of strongly held beliefs and personal opinions. Unfortunately, medical practitioners have busy schedules that won’t allow them to stay up-to-date on all the current studies and available evidence. Considering that over 30,000 biomedical journals with more than two million articles are published every year, it’s not humanly possible to have all this information at the back of your mind.

So, you need to figure out a simple way of gathering the most important and relevant evidence for your studies. That way, you won’t have to waste your time going through all the journals in search of data. This is where systematic reviews come in handy. Since the available journals vary greatly and may not be indexed properly, you will experience great difficulties while trying to appraise them and find quality evidence.

But with a systematic review, you’ll have all the relevant evidence synthesized and put in simple and easy-to-navigate journal articles. In fact, a systematic review offers you an organized and reliable overview of the complex and disorganized literature found in research journals. Furthermore, a systematic review offers you evidence gathered from numerous studies, allowing you to make informed decisions in your nursing practice. It also uses methods that minimize bias and produce reliable and accurate conclusions.

Lastly, a systematic review is less costly than primary research experiments because they rely on existing studies. While a systematic review isn’t an end in itself, it is a reliable and effective way of finding a strong and practical answer to a focused review question. A high-quality systematic review is defined as the most reliable source of evidence to clinical practice. Its meticulous summary provides a more reliable estimate of intervention effectiveness or overview of evidence on issues such as risk factors and prevalence of diseases. Therefore, systematic reviews are critical tools for promoting evidence-based practice in nursing.

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