PHN 652 Discuss the sources of evidence for public health nurses

PHN 652 Discuss the sources of evidence for public health nurses

PHN 652 Discuss the sources of evidence for public health nurses

The importance of the social determinants of health is determined by the variability of health of a population. By determining the social determinants in a certain population a researcher can formulate plans to yield the best outcomes. Social determinants can include incomes, education, occupation and culture. Cultural social determinants can include different diseases, risk factors and health behaviors. Factors that influence health or create social determinants are age, sex, and genetic factors, risk factors (smoking, exercising and diet). There are social determinates of health that include network, socioeconomic, health systems and environmental; these determinates are created by where individuals are born, grow, and live. Determinates of health create health inequalities that are dependent upon money, power and resources and each level. By identifying and understanding the determinates within an area the researcher can identify unequal distribution of resources and determine vulnerability.

Social Determinants of Health- an introduction. (2017) .

Social determinants of health are conditions in which individuals are born, grow, live and age. The social determinants impact individuals’ and populations’ health and wellness by determining health inequities. In essence, different populations have varying health access and outcomes based on social factors. Social determinants of health include socioeconomic status, level of education, race, gender, occupation and level of income. These factors affect population’s socioeconomic position which affect exposure, vulnerability and outcomes to conditions that impact health. Other factors such as health systems, material circumstances and psycho-social factors affect access to quality healthcare. Therefore, the minority population experiences health inequities such as low life expectancy. For instance, individuals with low level of education have limited access to quality health. However, health also influences social determinants of health. For instance, poor health outcomes can hinder an individual from acquiring high level of education or employment. In this case, the interaction between social determinants of health and population health is complex.

Scientific evidence supports decision-making, thus promoting the delivery of quality healthcare services. The sources

PHN 652 Discuss the sources of evidence for public health nurses
PHN 652 Discuss the sources of evidence for public health nurses

of public health evidence include reference material, national plans and guidelines, procedures from local authorities, nursing journals, personal experience, and knowledge from nursing training programs. The Institute of Medicine recommends public health organizations adopt the evidence-based practice approach in providing patient-oriented healthcare services (Lhachimi et al., 2016). Reference material includes peer-reviewed articles, literature reviews, books, and nursing journals. Public health nurses search for articles relevant to the practice issue and published within the past 5-7 years. These reference materials provide quantitative and qualitative data based on research studies (Lhachimi et al., 2016). As such, nurses can appraise data from epidemiological results, which is crucial in making clinical decisions. Nurses can apply personal experience in cases where they face similar clinical issues. For instance, a nurse treating a patient with a mental disorder can use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques based on the successful treatment of a previous patient. In addition, nurses can refer to other nurses’ experience in decision-making. Despite positive outcomes, personal experience is not a reliable source (Lhachimi et al., 2016). The rationale is that personal experience is highly susceptible to cognitive bias, systematic errors and has no citation.

Another source of evidence is public health policies. Research-derived evidence informs policy-making, which involves the development of laws, regulations, and guidelines (Lhachimi et al., 2016). Nurses are obliged to enforce federal policies which regulate nursing practice. For instance, the nurse practice act guides nursing actions, thus balancing nurses’ rights and the responsibility to protect population health (Hyunh & Haddad, 2020). Nurses also gain practice skills and knowledge from nursing institutions and training programs. Nurses apply evidence to support evidence-based practice through making informed decisions during diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of health outcomes at the point of patient contact (Lehane et al., 2019).In addition, nurses apply evidence in utilizing limited healthcare resources to improve patient outcomes. Evidence-based practice enables nurses to reach patient needs and population health goals and reduce health disparities.


Huynh AP & Haddad LM. (2022 Jul 18). Nursing Practice Act. In: StatPearls       [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID:        32644438.

Lehane, E., Leahy-Warren, P., O’Riordan, C., Savage, E., Drennan, J., O’Tuathaigh,                    C., … & Hegarty, J. (2019). Evidence-based practice education for   healthcare professions: An expert view. BMJ evidence-based medicine24(3),       103-108.

Lhachimi SK, Bala MM, Vanagas G. (2016 Jan 28). Evidence-Based Public Health.         Biomed Res Int. 5681409. doi: 10.1155/2016/5681409. PMID: 26942196;   PMCID: PMC4749765.

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Smith et. al., (2012) discuss that public health policies and recommendations aim to be informed by the best available evidence. In every research evidence-based information is vital so public health practitioners must be ready to implement an evidence-based approach in their work to meet health goals and sustain necessary resources such as funding (Jacobs, Jones, Gabella Spring & Brownson, 2012). Research helps to integrate results of trials, while public health decision making is largely based on evidence. Sources of evidence may include the systematic reviews, trials, cohort studies, case series, case study, surveillance systems and backgrounds information from the population.

“Key elements of evidence-based public health (EBPH) have been summarized (3) as the following:

  • Engaging the community in assessment and decision-making;
  • Using data and information systems systematically;
  • Making decisions on the basis of the best available peer-reviewed evidence (both quantitative and qualitative);
  • Applying program planning frameworks (often based in health behavior theory);
  • Conducting sound evaluation; and
  • Disseminating what is learned” (2012).

In an article by Jacobs, Jones, Gabella, Spring & Brownson (2012) increasing disease rates, limited funding, and the ever-growing scientific basis for intervention demand the use of proven strategies to improve population health.

Every data collection or source of evidence is tailored to help particular communities with intervention, assessment and implementation of resources. Among the sources of evidence, public health surveillance is a critical tool for understanding a community’s health issues. Often conducted through national or statewide initiatives, surveillance involves ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of quantitative health data (Jacobs, Gabella, Spring & Brownson, 2012).


Jacobs, J. A., Jones, E., Gabella, B. A., Spring, B., & Brownson, R. C. (2012). Tools for Implementing an Evidence-Based Approach in Public Health Practice. PREVENTING CHRONIC DISEASE, 9.

Marissa J. Smith, Andrew J. Baxter, Kathryn Skivington, Mark McCann, Shona Hilton, & Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi. (2021). Examining the sources of evidence in e-cigarette policy recommendations: A citation network analysis of international public health recommendations. PLoS ONE, 16(8).

Health Knowledge (n.d), identifies that evidence is published in a wide range of sources including journals, books, research reports, and increasingly directly onto websites, and that sources may contain different types of information, such as clinical guidelines, systematic reviews, controlled trials, or qualitative research. Sources of evidence in research for public health can be found in databases commonly used for searches by nurses and other health professionals such as the Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing Allied Health Literature (CINAHL).

To support evidence-based practice, the identified databases or sources of evidence provides evidence-based information from research that have been conducted by scholars in the field of healthcare so that healthcare decisions can be made from quality research for example, Olympic College (n.d.), identified that the Cochrane Database consist of details and structured reviews of hundreds of articles that have been reviewed, evaluated, and summarized by teams of experts. Such review and evaluation of primary research.


Olympic College (n.d.). Popular Databases.

Health Knowledge. (n.d). Identifying and Evaluating Sources of Evidence.