This book presents a pragmatic approach to the philosophy of nursing science that underpins evidence-based practice (EBP) including research methodology. The book explains the foundational philosophical principles underpinning scientific enquiry written in an accessible manner, to enable readers to grasp the key arguments of scientific enquiry, its philosophical background, and why it is essential for nurses to have a good understanding of science, research methods, and how it underpins modern nursing research and EBP. For a highly science based health discipline it is a paradox that most modern nursing students have a limited grasp of the foundational principles of scientific philosophy. Indeed, many will not have explored these ideas since high school, as they are not covered in any depth in modern university nursing programs. The author is a passionate advocate for scientific enquiry, and seeks to address this deficit and give nursing students and practicing nurses the tools to present clear scientific arguments to support practice, and detect poorly constructed, pseudo-scientific or simply bad scientific practices. The author explores the concept of nursing as a practice profession, explaining why nurses need a solid grounding in the philosophy of science to inform their practice. The subject matter is treated succinctly, with expansive discussion of more challenging concepts, but always with a practical emphasis in the context of EBP. The author considers the nursing profession in terms of modern scientific enquiry and praxis, explaining the key scientific concepts and principles that underpin contemporary evidence-based health care and exploring the practical applications of the philosophy of science for both practicing nurses and nursing students. The book also provides an overview of the history of science, development of scientific thinking and also explores positive and problematic examples from post-modern interpretations of nursing science, and their relationship to the media's reporting of health and science issues. Engaging real world examples of bad science and problematic approaches to science in nursing and health care are included with a range of matters including medical equipment, nutrition, cosmetics, complementary/alternative therapies and pharmaceutical examples. The role of nurses and EBP in regard to these practices is also discussed. There is currently no single text that fulfills this brief, and there are very limited resources in the nursing literature to meet this need for nursing education and professional development. This material is poorly covered in most nursing research textbooks, often as a sparse overview of scientific philosophy, and frequently with a bias towards post-modern approaches that are critical of EBP. This book forms an important text in supporting nursing practice, research and nursing theory courses. This material forms core content for Master's and PhD studies in nursing, and the subject matter also represents an area of considerable debate, and some controversy. The content is also particularly relevant for Nurse Practitioners. The subject material for the book is also taught at an introductory level (arguably rather inadequately) in every undergraduate-nursing program, where critical enquiry and nursing research is covered. Overall the level of the content would be appropriate for Level 300/400/500 university nursing courses) although any nurse who is interested in the scientific basis of nursing will find the material of interest.
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