By Marky Medeiros, MSN-RN

Whether or not your organization is on a path to national recognition, accreditation, or designation, most organizations focus on cultivating excellence within their teams. Excellence is a moving target and an ongoing destination. Still, there are foundational structures and processes that any organization can enhance or put into place that will enable the organization to soar toward excellence. Let’s talk about three of these foundational elements.

  1. Information sharing with staff. Start at the roots. Clinical staff, point of service, and point of care workers have the most impact on patients and patient outcomes. It is critical to share information, data, outcomes, budgeting processes, staffing/scheduling, and other information about the organization with the people who can make an impact on improvements. Sharing outcome data allows staff to realize how they are doing and make adjustments or changes to improve the process. It also boosts engagement as they are brought into the conversations and may participate in the decision making process regarding the information shared.
  2. Shared Governance. An amazing way to share data is through a shared governance or shared decision making structure. Shared governance is “a leadership model in which positional leaders partner with staff in decision making processes while creating ownership for improvement in practice” (Guanci & Medeiros, 2019). One of the most effective ways to improve patient outcomes, increase engagement, and increase staff satisfaction is to implement or strengthen your shared governance practices and processes. Shared governance councils are the venues where data is presented, actions are created, and plans are implemented that embody the motto “data drives practice.” The work of the councils in decision making revolves around the data, and the focus is on practice or the service that the council is responsible for in the organization. Effective shared governance councils, both at the unit and the organizational level, are one of the best ways to ensure a foundation of excellence in your organization.
  3. Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). Another foundational structure to think about is evidence-based practice. How does your team utilize evidence-based practice? How much education do they receive in this area? When they question a practice, where do they go? Does your organization have an EBP model? Do staff know what model you use? Are there resources available in your organization to support education and EBP projects? These questions form the basis of reflecting on where your organization might be on an EBP continuum and where next steps should start.

Evidence-based practice is an important foundational structure for the work in health care organizations. First line staff need to value the importance of EBP in their practices for their patients and families. Establishing a plan/protocol for EBP in your organization that outlines education at all levels of practice as well as resources to support EBP projects is a first step for organizations to bring a robust EBP program to their facility.

Many organizations do these practices very well. In most organizations, continuous process improvement is a never-ending cycle for continued improvement. Reflecting on your organization’s next steps in improving foundational structures and processes is a great way to start the journey that ultimately will lead to improved outcomes in your organization.