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5 Tips for Building Nurse Excellence, Outcomes

Meryl Montgomery, RN, for HealthLeaders Media, November 16, 2010

Then, we had a graphic artist make it "prettier" and the nurses took the model out to their coworkers. Three versions later, we have a model they are both proud to call their own and are able to apply to case studies as they explain excellence in care. The House, as it is called, is easy to update and revise and applies to all settings. We also built a wood house that we can use in teaching.

4. Develop new knowledge and innovations

Be sure policies and procedures are referenced with recent literature and "best practices," encourage nurses to try new things, and involve nurses in design of new units and the electronic medical record are being done in many organizations. So few hospitals have an on-sight nurse researcher and have little research activity, so this is a logical focus. Collaboration is the key here. Whether online, by phone, or in person, collaboration with a doctorate or master's prepared nurse who is well versed in quantitative and qualitative research methodology and analysis, as well as publishing, is key.

A good place to start is with your affiliated school of nursing, since you already have established relationships. Nurses from the school can serve as mentors and consultants in establishing a nurse research council, developing policies and educating interested nurses from all levels.

Once a beginning infrastructure is in place to provide knowledge and support, talk with nurses about what bothers them, what practices they question, and what patient care outcomes they'd like to see improved. This can be done in small groups, at change of shift huddles or staff meetings, or one-on-one. Some hospitals have "Ask a research question" contests, or "Lunches and learns."

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