Engaging Staff and Building Skills at All Levels to Lead EBP

Friday, 24 July 2015: 3:50 PM

Michele Farrington, BSN, RN, CPHON
Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA

An 18-month EBP internship program, first offered in 2001, was designed to help staff nurses address relevant clinical needs by applying the Iowa Model. Numerous positive outcomes have resulted including improved patient and family experiences, quality and safety, staff satisfaction, and a demonstrated cost reduction. Innovative practice changes have been shared extensively through presentations and publications. Additionally, interns who have completed the program report being prepared to mentor other staff nurses (n=38; mean= 4.3; 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree, Likert scale). This outcome along with recognizing the importance of local leadership on each unit for EBP success led to the development of an innovative role for staff nurses as EBP mentors. The importance of unit and organizational leaders with EBP skills was also recognized as a necessity in building a culture of EBP, therefore an advanced EBP program was launched in 2002. This program, strategically limited to 15-20 participants/program, was designed to promote networking and active learning through facilitated high-level discussion. Over 700 participants represent 250 organizations from across the United States and other countries. Nurse leaders learn to tackle the most challenging steps of the EBP process. Attendees take their learning back to their organizations and create a path for their own EBP journey. Participants state the program prepared them to lead EBP initiatives within their organization (n=604; mean=4.5; 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree, Likert scale) and prepared them to train other nurses in the EBP process (n=586/597 or 98.2% report objective met). A third target program for creating an EBP culture includes a nurse residency program to provide EBP training for new graduates as they transition into their role as practicing nurses. Local EBP experts helped create basic tools to assist nurse residents to lead EBP changes (e.g., tools that help develop project focus, contracting for resources, planning pilots). These programs, available to nurses from across the country and around the world, collectively continue to make a significant impact on quality care and demonstrate value in having a comprehensive EBP program. Learning has occurred from the ups and downs of the EBP journey to excellence. Mentoring clinicians is a fundamental principle to put into action. Several essential steps are necessary to improve staff engagement such as encouraging topic selection by staff nurses; matching clinical, systems, and EBP expertise; starting with a small group of participants; tackling the challenging steps of implementation and evaluation; and creating plenty of networking opportunities.