University becomes fourth institution to join Briggs

After completing a training course this summer, the university became the fourth institution in the nation to join the Joanna Briggs Institute, a nonprofit organization that is the global leader in evidence-based practice in the medical field, said a representative from the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Susan Mace Weeks, associate dean of Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences and director of the Center for Evidence-Based Practice & Research, said for students and colleagues at the university’s research center, the opportunity to merge with the institute would catapult the work of the university and extend the reach of the institute by incorporating more academic-based research.

“(It’s) a pairing of two organizations with similar passions,” Weeks said.

According to the Evidence Based Nursing Practice Web site, evidence-based practice gathers the most up-to-date medical knowledge available and integrates it into clinical practice.

Craig Lockwood, associate director of the institute, wrote in an e-mail that all levels of health care use the concept of evidence-based practice to ensure they have the latest information about the best available evidence on medical practices and theories.

“(It’s) more likely to lead to better practice and better patient outcomes than decisions that are made based only on personal knowledge and/or experience, or even prior undergraduate study,” he wrote.

Weeks said for the university to collaborate with the institute, a proposal had to be sent to the institute’s committee. After an approval process, the university and institution formed a partnership. The accepted participants then began a training course.

According to the institution’s Web site, the university was approved because it provided the ideal training environment by having proper accommodation for the course, including having enough participants and room for the lab.

Weeks represented the university at the training course.

The four-day training course held in May included a pre-test and a post-test to prepare faculty to teach the systematic review training program.

“TCU is a wonderful campus … We were able to, I think, provide an environment that really allowed people to focus and concentrate,” Weeks said.

Existing collaborating centers in New Jersey, Oklahoma and Indiana also joined and participated in the training course at the university.

Alan Pearson, executive director of the institute, and Lockwood flew in from Australia, where the institute is based, and monitored the course at the university.

Weeks had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Pearson and Lockwood during the training course.

“(Pearson and Lockwood) are very keen to begin to influence health care in the United States … They have not had as much exposure in the United States as they have in some of the other international markets,” Weeks said.

Lockwood wrote that both the institution and the university share the development of high quality evidence.

“By linking together we can greatly extend the reach of the evidence into health services,” Lockwood wrote.

Weeks said she attended a basic systematic review training in Australia last fall, which the institute sponsored.

“It was really during that course that I began to have a vision that TCU could become the fourth collaborating center in the United States,” she said.

A lot of medical discoveries appear in modern literature, but it can take 15 to 17 years to put new knowledge into practice, Weeks said.

Weeks said her goal is to use that knowledge to help patients in less time.

She also said the institute currently has 24 collaborating centers worldwide.