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The Clinical Inquiry Process Resource Guide

The goal of this guide is to provide nurses a resource to understand and carryout the steps of performing an evidence-based practice (EBP) project.

About the Clinical Inquiry Resource Guide

This resource is intended to provide information and resources related to the various aspects of the clinical inquiry process. Clinical inquiry is something that individuals involved in healthcare and patient care engage in regularly. It involves asking questions aimed at enhancing patient care and/or the healthcare environment.

Here are some points to consider as you engage in the process of clinical inquiry:


It Takes a Team to Address a Problem or Issue


Ensure that as you address an issue arising in the clinical environment, you make use of the available resources here at VCU Health. The healthcare system is composed of individuals who can serve as mentors or possess specialized expertise that could prove valuable for any initiative or project you initiate or participate in. No initiative or project can be executed by a single person, given that any alteration or decision will impact others who must also be engaged.

Team members (stakeholders) can contribute diverse skills and knowledge that are essential for ensuring the success of the project. These skills can encompass the ability to access various organizational resources, evaluate evidence, and potentially play a crucial role in facilitating the implementation of any changes into practice.

Follow the Tabs to the Left
This resource is organized based on the Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram. This diagram guides you through the clinical inquiry process, and the tabs on the left will offer information related to each step of the process.
Be Sure to Document What You Are Doing


When addressing an issue in the clinical environment, it's crucial to document your actions, conversations, and any evidence you have discovered or not found in relation to clinical inquiry. This information will be significant when discussing the specific issue with others within the organization, as you will possess the necessary information to address questions or concerns from stakeholders or potential team members.

One way to document the various aspects of the clinical inquiry process will be through the utilization of the Johns Hopkins Tools and other documents that are made available to you in this resource.   


Stopping Points Help to Ensure the Quality of the Project
  • There are stopping points are various points in the EBP process as you proceed through the portfolio.  These are intended to be times when one should meet with their mentor and discuss the progress being made as well as any problems or issues.  It is also during this meeting that any documentation that should have been completed is reviewed. The intention of this review is to make sure that it is filled out correctly and that the project is moving forward as it should.  A project should not move forward until the mentor has signed off at each stopping point.   
Have a Question?  - Be Sure to Ask for Help


During the clinical inquiry process, of you ever find yourself feeling stuck or uncertain about the next step, don't hesitate to reach out to your mentor or other individuals within the organization. Any endeavor aimed at enhancing patient care or the healthcare environment holds significance, and there are numerous individuals within the organization who are willing and capable of providing assistance if you will just ask.


image:  Navas, D. (2008). Question mark [Photo].