Keeping up with the latest evidence-based practice guidelines is no easy feat. Medicine is always changing and as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant you are always running into new clinical situations. Even the brightest clinicians have questions at times. So, where should NPs and PAs turn for the latest reliable clinical information?
Although the internet can quickly answer most clinical questions, stay away from sources like Wikipedia when it comes to treating your patients (obviously!). While most articles seem up to speed, they could very well be posted by a lonely cat lady without a medical degree whatsoever. You never know. Relying on the accuracy of Wikipedia or the information contained in similar sites is a big ‘no, no’ for nurse practitioners. Here are a few of my faves when it comes to staying relevant in your practice.
Okay, okay, this resource is a bit pricey but I’m telling you it’s worth it. UpToDate contains the latest information surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of disease. From background information to drug dosing and even patient handouts, UpToDate has it all. Articles are peer reviewed so you know they’re legit. The database is easy to use and never leaves me scrolling through pages and pages of irrelevant content when I’m looking for a quick answer during a busy day in the emergency department. It’s quick and simple to use.
Nurse practitioners can purchase a personal UpToDate account for $45/month or $499/year. A subscription makes solid use of your CME allowance. I haven’t yet ponied up to pay for UpToDate access on my personal computer but fortunately my employer finds the resource at work. I may even be known to print out lengthy articles on clinical topics at the hospital and tote them home for some not so light day-off reading material.
eMedicine, a division of Medscape, tops my list of go-to free resources for keeping up to date with evidence-based diagnosis and treatment guidelines. Simply search for the name of the condition you’re looking to treat and eMedicine provides just the right amount of information about the topic. Background information, epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, presentation, workup and treatment of the condition are discussed guiding patient care. eMedicine gives the basics for each topic and is well organized making it easy for nurse practitioners to find the answer to the question at hand rather than skimming pages and pages of content. Keep this site pulled up on your clinic laptop for easy reference.
3. American Academy of Family Physicians
While content on the AAFP website is created for physicians, it of course applies to nurse practitioners and physician assistants a well. The ‘Patient Care’ section of the site contains the most recent clinical guidelines for diagnosing and managing conditions like hyperlipdemia and diabetes. A quick search for the name of a condition gives relevant background, workup, diagnosis and treatment information. Like my prior two picks, articles are an appropriate length for referencing during the clinical day. AAFP publications aren’t kept up quite as well as those on UpToDate, however the resource is free.
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