Development of clinical guidelines, teaching guidelines for the use of oral contraceptives by adolescents

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May, Sandy
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There is currently a move towards evidence-based practice in all areas of health care. The development of clinical guidelines for use in practice is seen as one way of ensuring that the practice of clinicians is based on documented evidence. This practicum project describes a clinical situation where there are no current guidelines in use, specifically what and how to teach adolescents when they first start using oral contraceptives. A detailed review of the literature in the areas of clinical guideline development, the role of the nurse practitioner, health care of adolescents, and oral contraceptives was carried out. Clinical teaching guidelines were developed from a synthesis of the literature. A client version of the guidelines in the form of a handout was also developed. The guidelines were then presented to health professionals at three clinical practice sites. After each presentation, participants were asked to provide feedback on the guidelines. The results were very positive, with many participantscommenting that they found the guidelines to be relevant, informative, and useful. An evaluation framework was developed, but was not actually carried out as part of this practicum project due to time restraints. This framework involves a non-experimental pretest-posttest design that measures a shift from baseline (Fitz-Gibbon and Morris, 1987). The purpose of the evaluation project would be to test whether use of the guidelines increases the knowledge base and the satisfaction level of the health professionals using them and to gather feedback from the health professionals regarding the use and effectiveness of the guidelines in order to make any necessary revisions.