Jessie McGowan, BMus, MLIS, PhD
Senior Information Scientist, Centre for Global Health
Adjunct Professor, Departments of Medicine and Family Medicine
University of Ottawa
“How do you know if one health care treatment or intervention is any better than another, or if it will do more good than harm? Information about health is everywhere, but how can health professionals and consumers make sense of all the research going on around the world? These are just some of the questions that the Cochrane Library attempts to answer. The Cochrane Library brings together research which looks at the effectiveness of different health care treatments and interventions. It is recognised as the best single source of information on the effects of health care” (The Cochrane Library, ACC Guide to the Cochrane Library, n.d.).
About The Cochrane Library
The Cochrane Library is a collection of six online databases that “brings together in one place rigorous and up-to-date research on the effectiveness of healthcare treatments and interventions, as well as methodology and diagnostic tests” (The Cochrane Collaboration, Reviews, n.d.). A seventh database contains information about groups in the Cochrane Collaboration.
The primary database, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, contains the full text of approximately 4,500 Cochrane Reviews, plus approximately 2,000 Cochrane Protocols (Cochrane Reviews that are still in development).
“The Cochrane Library provides quality-assessed review evidence on diagnostic tests, health technology assessments, economic evaluations, and methods studies from the world’s medical literature” (The Cochrane Collaboration, Information for Practitioners, Providers and Policymakers, n.d.). “Each Cochrane Review is a peer-reviewed systematic review that has been prepared and supervised by a Cochrane Review Group (editorial team) in The Cochrane Collaboration according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions or Cochrane Handbook for Diagnostic Test Accuracy Reviews”…Cochrane Reviews “are prepared by authors who register their titles with one of the 52 Cochrane Review Groups,” which cover different disease and health-care topics. (The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, n.d.).
The Cochrane Collaboration
The Cochrane Collaboration is “an international network of people helping healthcare providers, policy makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care by creating, updating and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews” (The Cochrane Collaboration, About us, n.d.). “There are over 1,600 active members of The Cochrane Collaboration in Canada, including over 800 review authors” (Canadian Cochrane Centre, Cochrane Canada, n.d.).
The Cochrane Library is a very important resource for nursing as it contains key evidence that is used at point-of-care as well as for decision-making.
Examples of relevant reviews include:
Specialist nursing interventions for inflammatory bowel disease (Belling, McLaren & Woods, 2009); Nursing record systems: effects on nursing practice and healthcare outcomes (Urquhart, Currell, Grant & Hardiker, 2009); and Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance in patient care (Gould, Chudleigh, Moralejo & Drey, 2009). Mistiaen and colleagues conducted a review that explored the evidence for nursing interventions and concluded that the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews is a valuable source of evidence about nursing interventions and can be used as a means of developing a research agenda in the case of inconclusive reviews (Mistiaen, Poot, Hickox & Wagner, 2004).
“The Mission of the Cochrane Nursing Care Field (CNCF) is to improve health outcomes through:
increasing the use of the Cochrane Library by nurses and others (such as formal and informal carers and other health professionals) involved in delivering, leading or research nursing care;
engaging nurses and others involved in delivering, leading or research nursing care with the Cochrane Collaboration; and
supporting the Cochrane Collaboration and its role in providing an evidence base for nursing care.”
(The Joanna Briggs Institute, Cochrane Nursing Care Field, Home, n.d.)
"The Cochrane Nursing Care Field" is one of 11 Fields within the Cochrane Collaboration. The purpose of a Field is to support the conduct, dissemination and utilization of the systematic reviews relevant to the field…The core functions of the Cochrane Nursing Care Field fall into three major areas related to the production and use of Cochrane reviews:
Supporting Cochrane Review Groups in the preparation of reviews relevant to nursing;
Introducing cross-cutting, non-specialized perspectives relevant to all those providing nursing care (nurses, other disciplines such as social work, families and lay caregivers); and
Enhancing the dissemination and effective uptake of Cochrane reviews.
More specifically, the core functions are to:
Identify priority topics/questions related to nursing care that are not covered by existing Cochrane reviews
Identify primary studies in nursing care by searching databases and handsearching relevant journals and conference proceedings, especially those published in languages other than English
Promote the Field’s perspectives and priorities across the Cochrane Collaboration
Raise awareness in the role of the Cochrane Collaboration and its resources that are available to support practitioners of nursing care
Disseminate the findings of relevant Cochrane reviews to the nursing care community
Identify sources of funding to undertake or complete Cochrane reviews of interest to the Field”
(The Joanna Briggs Institute, Cochrane Nursing Care Field, About us, n.d.)
“One of the objectives of the CNCF is to disseminate summaries of nursing-care-relevant Cochrane Reviews…[CNCF] is currently in discussions with a wide range of international journals that are interested in producing a regular ‘Cochrane Corner’ column,” which will be targeted to nurses (The Joanna Briggs Institute, Cochrane Nursing Care Field, Evidence Transfer Program: Review Summaries, n.d.)
Belling, R., McLaren, S., & Woods, L. (2009). Specialist nursing interventions for inflammatory bowel disease [Review]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4):CD006597.
Mistiaen, P., Poot, E., Hickox, S., & Wagner, C. (2004). The evidence for nursing interventions in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Nurse Researcher, 12(2), 71-80.
Urquhart, C., Currell, R., Grant, M. J., & Hardiker, N.R. (2009). Nursing record systems: Effects on nursing practice and healthcare outcomes [Review]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1):CD002099.
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The resources within this section are offered to inform your cultural awareness, competency, and safety so as to enhance your capabilities to work with your clients in addressing their health and wellness needs