Best Practices for Developing a Professional Practice Model
HealthOctober 17, 2018

Best practices for developing a professional practice model

It may seem like the ANCC’s Magnet® designation has been around forever, but hospitals only began to be labeled as Magnet facilities in 1994. For almost 25 years, a growing number of hospitals both large and small have pursued Magnet status.  In 2017, only 475 hospitals in the United States achieved this recognition.

Becoming a Magnet facility demonstrates a commitment to exceptional patient outcomes through exemplary nursing care, but certain requirements must be met to earn the designation. One of the most important criteria is the creation and implementation of a professional practice model (PPM) within your organization.

PPMs describe a system of care for nurses directing professional development, communication, collaboration, and nursing practice. Research shows that facilities with PPMs in place provide higher quality care and have better engagement and increased job satisfaction among nurses. But creating an effective PPM isn’t as simple as it might seem. Following certain steps can help you develop your own practice model that aligns with your organization’s mission, values, and goals.

Use the best evidence to create your PPM

One of the first steps in the development of your hospital’s professional practice model is a review of current literature to support best practices. Your PPM must use up-to-date evidence as a basis for the improvement of nursing standards, procedures, and policies affecting day-to-day nursing care. Additionally, reviewing current data helps create a structured program for both clinical practice and advancement within your healthcare organization. This keeps nurses aware of and engaged in developmental actions to provide quality care while advancing their careers.

Most PPMs incorporate five subsystems which help direct the delivery of care, including:

  • A care delivery model
  • Management or governance
  • Professional recognition
  • Professional relationships
  • Professional values

Regularly review your PPM

Part of ensuring continuous engagement is a regular evaluation of your hospital’s PPM to ensure it continues to meet the unique needs of your organization. Formal evaluations are also a good way to gauge staff involvement and gain feedback about aspects of the PPM that may need to be changed.

A regular review of your PPM helps you continue to meet your organization’s goals while providing exceptional clinical outcomes. Certain measurement tools can help evaluate the effectiveness of different aspects of your PPM and can be used to highlight key information, how strategic goals are met, and opportunities to improve the model in practice settings.

Get your staff on board

While much of the creation of the PPM occurs at the managerial level, staff nurses must be invited to share input and recommendations for the model. Nursing participation is a critical component of a successful PPM, promoting system-wide understanding and adherence to the model. Nursing literature suggests that, while PPMs impact clinical outcomes, they also have a direct effect on nurses. Nurses in facilities utilizing PPMs are more likely to describe the model’s positive effects on multiple areas of nursing practice, including:

  • Quality of care
  • Decision making
  • Autonomy
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Job enjoyment

When staff nurses are actively engaged, they are more likely to feel better connected in their relationships with patients, other nurses, other healthcare providers, and the organization itself. Rewarding or recognizing your outstanding achievers is an excellent way to ensure continuous nurse feedback and participation in your hospital’s professional practice model.

Indeed, clinical nurses must be involved in the PPM’s creation, implementation, and evaluation to meet the requirements for Magnet status. Consider hosting committee meetings, councils, or focus groups to gain feedback about your PPM and its effects on both nurses and patient care. Additionally, nursing leadership must be visible and easily available to staff nurses wishing to provide input on your PPM and its effects within your organization.

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