December 22, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Creating a culture that drives great nurse performance

Organizations do not achieve outstanding results by accident—they take a powerful, common-sense approach that motivates all employees to consistently do their best. Exceptional organizations apply an approach that promotes outstanding individual performance, called the performance pyramid. At its core, “the power of the pyramid” is a human resource management tool.

The performance pyramid model is a common-sense approach to creating a nursing performance improvement culture. Here are the steps to achieve great nurse performances: visualize these steps starting from the bottom of the pyramid (the largest part of the pyramid that supports the whole structure) and moving up through the various layers that make up the whole:

  • Appoint excellent nurses: If you start by bringing nursing staff into the hospital who are well qualified and competent, you improve your ability to reach the level of excellence you desire. Carefully selecting nurses requires solid screening systems, so it is important to create and maintain the highest possible standard for nursing.
  • Set and communicate expectations: The nursing department should tell every nurse, in writing, what is expected of him or her to achieve excellence. This is your opportunity to establish expectations for the type of nursing culture you want.
  • Measure performance against expectations: Once a hospital has established expectations and communicated them to the nursing staff, it must measure each nurse’s performance against those expectations. The foundation of any successful quality program is the basic premise that measuring something drives improvement.
  • Provide periodic feedback: Nobody really knows whether they are meeting expecations unless they receive periodic feedback about their performance. Ongoing feedback to nurses on their performance is essential and reinforces the expectations established by the organization.
  • Manager poor performance: Nursing leaders should not wait until the annual review process to address performance issues. Discuss such issues with the appropriate nurse as soon as concerns arise.
  • Take corrective action: Nursing leadership must act when all of the steps have been taken but a nurse fails to self-improve and her or his poor performance threatens quiality of patient care.

Source: Nursing Peer Review Book, excerpt from Laura Cook Harrington, RN, MHA, CPHQ, CHCQM

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Filed Under: Image of nursingLeadership


Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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