Purpose: To delineate the origins and fundamental tenets of evidence-based practice (EBP) and to enhance understanding of this important term. Methods: A critical review of the literature pertaining to evidence-based practice from the fields of medicine and nursing, including international reports. Findings: The roots of EBP indicate this term is not a synonym for research utilization but rather is the rubric for a set of epistemologic assumptions. Key components of EBP include evidence hierarchies and systematic reviews. Differences were found between the views of EBP presented in papers published by nurses within the US compared to those published by nurses outside the US. Conclusions: The literature shows incongruity in the interpretation of the basic tenets of the evidence-based paradigm. Additionally, nurses may underestimate implications of the evidence-based movement. These two problems impede nurses' participation as full partners in the advancement of evidence-based practice. They also represent a call to action to achieve a more standardized framework for advancing EBP in nursing.