Reviewing Nursing Policy and Procedures: Is There a Process?

Monday, 30 October 2017

Jane Marlene Langemeier, PhD, MSN
Department of Nursing [Graduate], Clarkson College, Omaha, NE, USA

Health care management risk is rampant. An evidence-based nursing policy and procedure minimizes health care management risks, and promotes safe patient care delivery while utilizing best practice evidence (Dols et al., 2017). In addition, the nursing policy and procedure should continue to ensure relevant health care regulations, state and federal mandates, and accreditation standards are upheld (White 2010). Health care organizations purposely create and implement nursing policy and procedures to communicate professional best practices. Sustaining comprehensive, evidence-based, up-to-date, and regulatory compliant nursing policy and procedures provides challenges and may even be under-valued by some health care organizations (Destache, 2013). Barriers such as time, financial cost, and expert or legal consultations hinder nursing policy and procedure reviews within health care organizations. Designated health care organizational nursing policy committees may anxiously develop new policies and procedures but engagement of administrators, managers, and staff members or policy committees are less enthusiastic to review established policy and procedures. Nurses identify inadequacies of shaping nursing policy and procedure practice changes relational to a lack of evidence-based knowledge and evaluation (Carroll, 2013). Evidence-based literature is lacking on the review process of how to assess and critique a nursing policy and procedure on current practice (Adams & Cullen, 2011). Many health care organizations lack surveillance tracking and documentation of periodic due dates for nursing policy and procedure reviews, so consistent systematic reviews and revisions may be missed. Williams, Young, Williams, and Schindel (2011) recognize reviews of nursing policy and procedures for sustainability and insurance of anticipated clinical outcomes is necessary to develop a nursing culture of evidence-based practice. Unfortunately, literature is lacking on organizational guidelines, models, and/or policies for reviewing and critiquing nursing’s policies and procedures (Schaeffer, 2013). The development of a health care organizations’ formal training for nursing stakeholders and experts could influence a change in this nursing attitude. The creation of a nursing policy and procedure checklist of review steps provides a critique and formal evaluation method for nurses to review the nursing policy and procedure, review the current evidence, and the reduction of risk.