HealthSeptember 22, 2022

Best practices for developing a professional practice model

For almost 30 years, a growing number of hospitals, both large and small, have pursued Magnet status. As of June 2022, only 9.4% of US hospitals, or a total 591 hospitals 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.

A professional practice model describes how nurses practice, collaborate, communicate, and develop professionally to provide the highest-quality patient care. The model illustrates the alignment and integration of nursing practice with the healthcare organization's mission, vision, and values.

Research shows that facilities with PPMs 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 a practice model that defines the components of your nursing practice.

Use the best evidence to create your PPM

Start the development of your hospital’s professional practice model with a review of current literature to support best practices. Your PPM must use regularly updated clinical evidence as a basis for the improvement of nursing standards, procedures, and policies affecting day-to-day care delivery. Additionally, a review of current data helps to create a structured program for both clinical practice and advancement within your healthcare organization. This review process keeps nurses aware of and engaged in clinical decision support actions to provide quality patient care while advancing their careers.

Most PPMs incorporate five subsystems that help direct patient care delivery, including:

  1. A care delivery model
  2. Management or governance
  3. Professional recognition
  4. Professional relationships
  5. 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 your organization’s unique needs. Formal evaluations are also a good way to gauge nurse 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 highlight key information, such as how strategic goals are met and opportunities to improve the model in practice settings.

Get your nurse staff on board

While much of the creation of the PPM occurs at the managerial level, nurse staff must be engaged and invited to share input and recommendations for the model. Nursing participation is a critical component of a successful PPM; it promotes system-wide understanding and adherence to the model. Nursing literature suggests that, while PPMs impact clinical outcomes, they also directly affect 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 nurse staff is actively engaged, they are more likely to feel better connected in their relationships with patients, other nurses, 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 designation. 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 nurse staff who wish to provide input on your PPM and its effects within your organization.

Read Leading the Development of a Network-Wide Professional Practice Model: The Role of the Contemporary Nurse Executive for an example of how a nurse executive led the development of a network-wide nursing professional practice model in a matrixed health care setting.

Learn how Lippincott Solutions can support the development of a Professional Practice Model.

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