Q The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) publishes several evidence-based documents, including Practice Alerts, Procedure Manuals, and Protocols for Practice. What are the differences among these 3 publications and when should each one be used?

A Marianne Chulay, RN, DNSc, and Joyce Hall, RN, MSN, reply:

Each of the 3 publications serves a unique role in disseminating research-based information about critical care practice. The AACN Practice Alerts are designed to provide strong research-based direction to clinicians about a particular aspect of their practice that has a significant gap between the research and actual practice. The procedures published in the AACN Procedure Manuals provide a complete listing of everything to be done when providing a discrete nursing action for the patient, whether there is a research basis for each of the steps or not. The AACN Protocols for Practice are designed to provide a succinct summary of the key, research-based,...

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