HealthAugust 10, 2022

Your quality improvement and evidence-based practice champions are MVPs — show them how much you value them!

You should recognize it fairly quickly, those people who understand the importance of quality improvement and evidence-based practice to your hospital or health system.

They’re the ones who realize that well-conceived and implemented QI, EBP, and research projects can move your organization to the next level, attract and retain top-notch practitioners, and give your patients consistently better outcomes.

However, knowing these people are strongly committed to EBP and QI isn’t enough. What are you doing to increase their job satisfaction? Have you found ways to encourage and incent them? Let’s consider the qualities associated with these MVPs and how you can increase their satisfaction as well as that of all your staff.

EBP/QI champions share certain qualities and skills

When it comes to identifying the students and practitioners who champion quality improvement and evidence-based practice, specific characteristics stand out:

  • Passionate about generating change
  • Unafraid to try new methods or tools
  • Committed to the process, the topics, the results and their impact
  • Well-trained, including ongoing education
  • Publish frequently
  • Use the value of networking
  • Communicate and collaborate well
  • Listen thoughtfully

EBP and QI champions understand the importance of investing in the right people and resources to maximize the effect of improvement. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk!

Where do you find - and how do you grow - your QI and EBP standard bearers?

Attracting, cultivating, and supporting EBP and QI champions is not necessarily straightforward. But for it to succeed at all, leadership must be committed to identifying and nurturing these MVPs as part of a rigorous and supportive program.

Those who champion evidence-based practice and quality improvement may surprise you. She or he might be a superstar recently out of school, all fired up to make a difference. Your organization should make it a point to identify these professionals early in their careers and invest in them. Send them to training and conferences, give them the tools to make their research more efficient, and promote them internally via poster sessions and team leadership.

Others are seasoned practitioners constantly looking for ways to help their department run more efficiently and make a more significant difference for their patients. These are the people who stay current on the latest research and look for ways to apply it to the specific situations they face. Be sure to encourage and incent these people and their initiatives with stipends, conference participation, and recognition awards.

Show all your top EBP/QI advocates a path for career advancement and additional opportunities, perhaps aiming to be director of EBP or QI if those positions interest them. Give them time to pursue projects that may ultimately result in a competitive advantage for your entire hospital or health system.

True champions boost both quality care and staff engagement

When someone is passionate and thorough, wanting to make changes for the right reasons, they won’t stop until they’ve succeeded. There’s a direct line between these proponents of EBP and improved patient outcomes. You need clinical professionals like that to constantly keep looking forward, putting together great teams that generate better practices and higher quality care.

Speaking of teams, there’s nothing worse for morale than an EBP project leader who’s just going through the motions to complete an assignment. Team members get quickly burned out when it's evident that the project lead doesn’t care. Conversely, it’s electrifying — and contagious — when you work with people who are excited about the question they’re trying to answer or the process they’re trying to improve. Even if other students and staff aren’t EBP or QI champions, their leaders' enthusiasm can help you retain and recruit employees. Team performance and satisfaction go through the roof, which is even more critical with continuing staff shortages and pandemic-driven burnout.

Recognize and reward — and you’ll reap the returns

It’s time to let your top EBP and QI proponents know they’re respected and valued as leaders in your organization. By driving the implementation of evidence-based practice in your hospital or health system, they’re not just making your facility run more smoothly and your patients very impressed with their care. They can be the proof point for staff fulfillment, showing others what a difference commitment, passion, and lofty goals can make — and how these characteristics are rewarded. For the sake of your clinical staff, your patients, and your bottom line, don’t let your EBP and QI MVPs get away!

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