9 Things You Should Include in your Nursing Rapid Review (2021) by Tutor Pharaoh Jr.

Hello friend, how is your day? This is your Nursing coach Pharaoh Jr. Please today allow me to unravel the steps to writing Nursing Rapid Reviews. If you are in post grad and you are required to write a rapid review for you final year, you are at the right place. Grab a cup of cofee, sit back and spend the next 6 minutes with the coach.

In nursing and indeed many other disciplines, rapid reviews present a fast and reliable method of data synthesis for decision-making. When conducting research, scholars aim at expanding the knowledge base about a specific topic. A review of different studies helps to explain a phenomenon, which then informs on the policy change or practice in the field. Usually, systematic reviews are conducted to create a comprehensive picture of the issue at hand. However, time constraints make this approach impractical in certain circumstances. Rapid reviews are thus replicas of systematic reviews, although they are not as comprehensive as the latter. To write a rapid review, a student should follow the steps outlined below.

Topic Selection

The topic selected depends on the student’s interest in whichever field. In nursing, for example, a student may decide to conduct a rapid review on a subject like mental health.  For this article, this topic will be used as an example. After identifying the topic of interest, the student then narrows down to the specific question under this topic. For example, a rapid review question under mental health would be, “What is the relationship between marijuana use and depression,” or “does marital problems precipitate suicidal thoughts?” After framing the question, the student then moves to the next step where they write an introduction and background about the topic.

Introduction and Background Information

In this section, the student discusses the topic in detail and gives background information about the issue. In the introduction, the student defines the key terms, cites statistics, and highlights the main parts of the review. In our example, the student can define what depression is and explain how marijuana causes mental health challenges. Moreover, the statistics about depression or marijuana use are included in this section. Under background information, other relevant data on the topic is explained in detail. One of the important components of this section is the rationale of the rapid review. The student must show that there exists a gap in knowledge on this matter in the context of time and location. Therefore, the student convinces the reader that the review is necessary for a particular purpose. The student relates the various components of the clinical question and gives the available information about these parts. Concisely, the introduction and background information are the fundamentals of the topic that guide the student in writing the other parts of the rapid review.

Clinical Question

The clinical question should guide the student in conducting the review. It should address the PICOT, which is, Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Time. Further, this section explains what the population, intervention, and outcomes are. If there is any comparison that the student is making, this section discusses it in detail.

Database Search

As the word implies, this writing entails conducting a rapid review of the literature. Therefore, the student must first gather the material to be reviewed. Gathering this material is possible through a database search. The databases available are varied depending on the discipline. For nursing students, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) is an easily accessible and rich source of scholarly material for review. Searching this data in the repository relies on the input of search phrases derived from the clinical question. Examples of search phrases for our mental health example are “marijuana” and “depression.”

In CINAHL, these phrases are searched together by the use of the “AND” prompt available on the website. Normally, the initial search yields numerous results. Adding filters reduces the number of results to a manageable figure that the student can review to complete the work. Remember the purpose of a rapid review is to generate information fast. Therefore, the time filters should be narrow since older articles are not usable in this review.  The search strategy is included herein in clear details such that anybody can follow the guide and get the same results. The sections that follow the database search explain why the student employed this strategy as well as any inclusion and exclusion criteria applied. Additionally, the student must explain why the criteria for inclusion or exclusion of articles were used.

Research Methodology

This section opens up by explaining rapid reviews and how they differ from other kinds of reviews. The student then explains the strengths and weaknesses of these reviews. Under this section, the student also explains how they saved the results and how they conducted the evidence appraisal.

Evidence Appraisal

This is the judgment made about the quality of retrieved articles. The student explains the tools used for this purpose as well as the rationale for using these tools. After evidence appraisal, the reviewer makes a tabular representation of the findings.

Data Extraction and Evidence Synthesis

The data extracted from the articles are then synthesized to complete the rapid review. Narrative or descriptive summaries are important in fulfilling this purpose. The findings of the review are then developed in the form of a table that the reader can quickly refer to get a glimpse of the review outcome.


Ethical review is not complete without a mention of the significance of the findings in the field. The student then explains how the review shapes future research and how the findings are communicated to the relevant audiences.


The student restates the clinical question and offers an overview of the review findings. The conclusion also makes a connection between the findings and field practice. It is also important to mention the ethical issues and limitations encountered during the review. When done correctly, rapid reviews avail valuable information that informs decision-makers on evidence-based practice while improving the services rendered to different recipients.

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