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Guidelines, sources and the role of NICE

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Guidelines, sources and the role of NICE

The availability of information about healthcare has expanded significantly in recent years and clinical research studies are continually identifying ways of providing the best possible care for patients. Thousands of medical research articles are published in journals every week, so much so that it is estimated that it would take 20 reading hours a day in order to keep on top of new research publications. That equates to 17 articles a day, every day.1

Consequently, it is a far more efficient and realistic use of time to use appropriate sources of pooled evidence and related guidelines. It is, however, important that nurses refer to trusted sources of the best available evidence on which to base care delivery.2

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation that provides evidence based national guidance for the NHS. NICE guidance supports healthcare professionals and others to ensure that the care provided is of the best possible quality, offering the best value for money.

This resource, consisting of five assessment questions at basic level, tests your understanding of the role of NICE, and other sources of guidelines. Complete the resource, including reading the featured articles and undertaking some or all of the activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Learning outcomes

After studying the MCQs you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the principles of evidence-based practice
  • Understand the purpose of National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidelines
  • Assess the application of templates and protocols to support guidelines
  • Understand how and why to involve patients
  • Appreciate how practising evidence-based healthcare can support your professional development


1. Alper BS, Hand JA, Elliott SG, et al (2004). How much effort is needed to keep up with the literature relevant for Primary Care? Journal of the Medical Library Association 92; (4): 429-437

2. Nursing and Midwifery Council. The code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. London: NMC, 2008.

Practice Nurse featured article

Evidence and controversies Katherine Hunt

Recommended reading

NICE. What we do

NICE Benefits of implementing NICE guidance

Sackett DL, Rosenberg WMC, Muir Gray JA, et al. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ 1996;312:71 Evidence based medicine. For sources of (and links to) clinical evidence.