Guidelines, protocols, and standards have gained attention as clinical tools designed to enhance clinical decision-making and practice. Yet, evidence has emerged that clinicians are having difficulty integrating new knowledge presented by these tools into practice. This article explores the benefits and barriers to using guidelines and protocols, probes the issues of producing these tools, and examines processes that are critical to constructing valid tools. The key functions important in successful development and implementation of guidelines and protocols are presented, as well as the direction these clinical adjuncts will take in the future.
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©2000 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses