For hospitals pursuing certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® or Pathway to Excellence Program® there is a strong commitment to advancing nursing excellence. Magnet-recognized organizations embody a collaborative culture, where nurses are valued as partners in ensuring patient safety. This commitment to excellence is supported by ongoing investments in nursing education and development, ensuring that nurses are supported throughout their professional journey.
High-quality nursing care has been shown to improve patient outcomes, increase patient and nurse satisfaction, reduce inpatient length of stay, and lower the cost of healthcare – the key tenets of the Magnet and Pathway programs. But in order to commit to a culture of excellence, organizations must look beyond their professional practice models. In fact, there is a growing need to elevate these models and apply a more formalized, advanced clinical practice ability framework to facilitate optimal patient care and outcomes while advancing nurse education and well-being.
An advanced Clinical Practice Ability Framework – enabled through a set of evidence-based procedures, clinical decision support, and professional development tools – can support nurses along their career continuum. The Clinical Practice Ability Framework supports both the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program and Pathway to Excellence Program by ensuring nurses have the appropriate clinical practice tools and resources needed to: make evidence-informed practice decisions; continually acquire new knowledge and skills; pursue life-long, self-directed learning; and ultimatelydeliver high-quality nursing care through empowered leadership and autonomous practice.
The methods to support clinical practice ability
The concept of clinical practice ability in nursing is ever-evolving, especially as it relates to competency. While much research has been accumulated on the nursing practice journey, less is known about the resources that best inform and support clinical practice ability. Healthcare organizations readily adopt professional practice models and nursing theories; however, they often lack a model that clearly delineates how to integrate clinical practice ability and competency within their workforce.
In the context of the Clinical Practice Ability Framework, clinical practice ability in nursing is the ability to (1) perform adaptive, evidence-informed decision-making, (2) use clinical reasoning to solve complex nursing problems, and (3) provide high-quality nursing care.
The Framework’s 3 pillars – coordinate, cultivate, and accelerate – work in unison to develop and optimize clinical practice ability and competency in the workforce. Structuring the work environment of nurses to include the elements outlined in the Clinical Practice Ability Framework supports evidence-based practice and quality care models already in place at most organizations, along with credentialing programs.
“Professional growth is really about building clinical practice ability, and it doesn’t stop at competence,” said Wolters Kluwer Senior Account Executive Wyndy Looney, MSN, RN, NPD-CPMP. “Clinical practice ability goes a step further, continuing to develop the ability of your staff and the ability of your organization to reach its goals and outcomes.”
Augmenting a nursing excellence blueprint
While the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® sets the standard for excellence through leadership, scientific discovery, and dissemination and implementation of new knowledge, the ANCC Pathway to Excellence Program® provides guidance for healthcare organizations so that every nurse works in an environment that supports their needs and promotes high standards of care to improve healthcare for all.
Anchored by a professional nursing practice foundation built on regulations and a code of ethics, the Clinical Practice Ability Framework is intended to support Magnet and Pathway readiness and to create an ongoing culture of excellence for those health organizations already certified.
The Clinical Practice Ability Framework supports both the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program and Pathway to Excellence Program by ensuring nurses:
- Have the appropriate clinical practice tools and resources needed to make evidence-informed practice decisions;
- Continually acquire new knowledge and skills;
- Pursue life-long, self-directed learning; and
- Deliver high-quality nursing care through empowered leadership and autonomous practice.