When they launched in 2020, oncology nurses recognized the first five ONS Guidelines™ for cancer treatment-related symptoms and adverse events as the evidence-based standard for patient care. Now, the ECRI Guidelines Trust, a national evaluation organization, has given them that distinction as well, including all of ONS’s current guidelines in its repository.
ONS Guidelines give nurses and other healthcare professionals the best available evidence to guide patient care decisions. Inclusion in the ECRI Guidelines Trust, a publicly available repository of evidence-based guidelines in health care, means that the ONS Guidelines can reach an even wider group of practitioners to help them improve care and patient outcomes.
ONS Guidelines Score High in TRUST
The Trust provides healthcare providers with easy access to guidelines to advance safe and effective patient care. It’s a unique arrangement, where an unbiased team of guidelines experts summarizes and scores the guidelines for the repository. This scoring is important because not all guidelines are created equal and may follow different methodology. ECRI evaluates the guidelines according to its TRUST (Transparency and Rigor Using Standards of Trustworthiness) scorecard, which measures the extent to which a guideline adheres to the National Academy of Medicine Standards for Trustworthy Guidelines.
The TRUST scorecard includes seven criteria in five categories:
- Composition of the guideline group: Do the guidelines include a range of members with experience in the topic area as well as a methodologist and, importantly, a patient?
- Systematic review of the evidence: Does the published systematic review include a thorough literature search with clear criteria for study selection and methods for evidence synthesis?
- Complete recommendations: Does each recommendation’s published guideline include the strength of the evidence, description of the benefits and harms, a summary of the evidence that led to the recommendation and its strength, and a clear articulation of the recommendation?
- Bias mitigation: Is the guideline transparent with a description of funding sources and conflicts of interest?
- External review: Did the guidelines go through a public comment period and peer review, and do they describe the plan for updating?
ONS guidelines scored highly in each category.
How to Implement Guidelines in Practice
Guidelines are only able to improve care once nurses have implemented them in practice. Changing practice is not always easy, but nurses are leading experts in using evidence-based practice and quality improvement techniques to advance the adoption and integration of interventions into our practice settings.
Nurses have worked to implement a variety of evidence-based guidelines into clinical care and reported some of their strategies:
- Incorporating documentation into electronic health record systems
- Using standardized tools and frameworks
- Developing care models
- Improving communication
As leading voices in developing strategies and models that help guide the successful implementation of practice change, nurses can share their best practices with peers by:
- Publishing your practice change project
- Presenting at national conferences
- Discussing ideas on the ONS Communities
By working collaboratively, oncology nurses can use the best available evidence to improve outcomes for our patients.