April 12, 2010 | | Comments 3
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Improving nursing culture in your organization

Nursing culture is shaped by many internal factors, including barriers such as poor communication between leaders and frontline nurses or a lack of respect from medical staff. If nurses are not well respected by their colleagues on the medical staff, then how do you think you can create a culture of excellence?

Leadership plays a critical role in affecting culture throughout the organization. As a leader, it is important to create an environment for a culture that is professional, reaches excellence, has mutual respect, and inspires values.

Here are steps to help change the culture in your organization.

Step I: Define your current nursing culture (positives and negatives.) What are things that you like and dislike about the nursing culture in your organization? What are the things that you need to change? What are the barriers that will block change?

Step II: Identify the changes needed to enhance professional culture. Some changes take time, but there may be policies or changes in practice that can occur immediately. Don’t forget to recognize and praise changes made throughout the year. Have you ever looked back and wondered what did we accomplish this year? Keep a log of all the changes made in nursing for the year, and then communicate this to your nurses.

Step III: Create a nursing vision and mission and then communicate this to the nursing staff. Creating a vision and mission will guide and provide structure for the nurses.

Step IV: Implement change that you can effect. Some changes will need to occur over many years, but these begin with the changes you can make now. Review the aspects of what you want to change, and then make it happen.

What are some ways your organization improves nursing culture? How do you encourage staff to help improve the culture on your unit?

Source: Excerpt from The Image of Nursing, written by Laura Cook Harrington, RC, RN, MHA, CPHQ, CHCQM

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Filed Under: Hot topicsImage of nursingStaff motivation


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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  1. I just couldnt leave your website before telling you that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

  2. I was thinking this sounded like good information for anyone starting on the Magnet journey, and the excerpt is from a Magnet preparation book!

    Starting a unit brag book is probably one of the easiest things to do—and many nurses are very creative. Save all your thank-you notes, pictures from VIP visitors (like officials and celebrities), take photos of your unit personnel in action and document all the good things you do! Leaving the brag book out on the nurses’ station where everyone can access it is a great tool to humanize staff.

    Having a board with pictures of staff and a brief paragraph on why they became nurses (as well as where they’re from originally) is another way to mold nursing culture. It helps patients and family develop rapport with the staff. It also helps staff support each other when they understand motivations for becoming nurses.

    One of the first things I did as a nurse manager on my unit was revamp the mission and vision. That definitely goes a long ways towards forging a direction and eliminating straying from the primary function.

  3. When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added-
    checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails
    with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you are able to
    remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

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