The Return on Investment from an EBP Educational Program for Staff Nurses

Monday, 22 July 2013: 1:30 PM

Laura Cullen, DNP, RN, FAAN
Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA

Educational programs facilitating staff nurse led evidence-based practice (EBP) initiatives are not new. Over a decade of experience has generated both lessons learned and a clear return on investment (ROI). The ROI has generated growing commitment to resource and support for EBP. Expectations are realized through a systematic evaluation and collection of metrics showing growth and improvements. An EBP Staff Nurse Internship program, originating in 2001, has led to organizational and international recognition. The Internship is a 12 day program, mentoring staff nurses to serve as EBP project directors. Staff nurses (n = 36) from six programs consistently report both understanding the EBP process and planning to use EBP again (means of 4.5 on 1-5 strongly agree to strongly disagree Likert scale). Participants recommend the program to others (4.7 on 1-5 scale). One nurse stated “I would highly recommend this program to any nurse who has a great idea so that they can accomplish a project with adequate support, guidance and direction.” The Internship program led to significant ROI including implementation of 32 EBP improvements, creation of a nursing quality infrastructure addressing topics across diverse populations. The Internship alone led to 13 initiatives improving patient quality and safety, seven improvements addressing patient satisfaction, two staff satisfaction and safety projects, and six nursing innovations. Cost savings from the internships have been achieved by three staff nurse led EBP changes accounting for upwards of $2 million. Project integration was supported by development of numerous evidence-based policies. Dissemination led to 26 national and international staff nurse presentations, 10 staff nurse authored publications, six national and international awards. A ripple effect has led to several EBP grants addressing cancer symptom management and other clinical topics. Focused evaluation targeting key metrics demonstrates a ROI justifying support for additional EBP and research.