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Evidence-Based Practice: Nursing

Background Information

What is a background question?

A background question is when you are seeking general knowledge about a process, condition, test, treatment or thing.  They generally have one or two concepts and do not require the intricate process in formulating  clinical or evidence-based decision-making questions.

Examples of background questions:

  • Finding an overview of type II diabetes in adults
  • Finding the definition on osteoporosis
  • Looking for the mechanism of action for heparin 
  • Finding the prognosis of patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF)

Background/overview information may be found in sources such as:

  • books and eBooks, evidence summaries, reference books, textbooks, chapters, and appendices. 
  • drug directories, guides to diagnostic tests 
  • overview articles
  • expert opinions, pre-synthesized and pre-appraised guidelines or summaries 


Point of Care Tools

Background information can also be found in electronic tools that aggregate texts, reference, drug monographs and more.  These point of care tools, summaries are used by busy clinicians who need quick access to disease, drug and best practice information in their clinical setting.

Below are a few examples of point of care electronic tools:

DynaMed Plus is a point of care tool that helps clinicians get answers to clinical question.  The content is is written by a world-class team of physicians who synthesize the evidence and provide objective analysis

ClinicalKey is an online resource designed to provide fast answers to clinical questions.  It includes textbooks, journals, drug information, clinical practice guidelines, patient education materials, images and videos, evidence-based point-of-care reference, and training in common medical procedures.