Bradley says ASPIRE has also added supervisor levels, based on staff feedback. Also, there are criteria for participating in each of the levels. For example, to be at the leader level, a nurse must have a baccalaureate in nursing and be certified in a certain specialty, Bradley says.
Despite the promises of a bonus, Bradley insists that the cash isn't the primary reason nurses participate in the ASPIRE program. She says doing so helps them develop professionally, gain leadership skills, advance within the organization, and most importantly, improve patient outcomes. Many nurses who've successfully completed projects have moved into nurse manager roles.
"They're demonstrating that nursing makes a difference," Bradley says.
Developing leadership skills is also critical to the program's success, both for nurses and the organization. Bradley says participants learn that in order to really make a difference and influence other nurses to change their behaviors and implement better practices, they need to have data to back up those changes.
The program provides nurses with the tools to create a plan for change, helps them identify the resources they need to implement their project, and enables them to build and influence their networks.
"Leadership comes from being able to use information and being able to disseminate that information," Bradley says. "To be a leader... you have to have data and make decisions based on it."