Friday, July 15, 2011

Exploring the practice environment

Linda Kelly Lecture: From left, Schiff, Deborah Kelly, Linda Kelly and Ives Erickson/p>

Given the rapid pace of change in health care today, it is important to understand and improve the environment where care is provided, explained Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, FAAN, senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse, as she presented this year’s Linda Kelly Nursing Lecture. The annual lecture is named in honor of Linda Kelly, RN, NP, of Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology, and was established through support from Deborah Kelly, an MGH donor who has a longstanding relationship with Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology, and his wife, Jan. Deborah and Linda are not related.

In her lecture, “Evaluation of the Professional Practice Environment: Results from an International Study,” Ives Erickson described a survey tool designed by the MGH to measure the effectiveness of its professional practice environment. Conducted every 18 months, the Revised Staff Perceptions of the Professional Practice Environment (RPPE) Survey evaluates the quality of the MGH practice environment through the measurement of eight key organizational characteristics. Results from the survey guide decisions made by hospital leadership.

“This survey gives voice to nurses, therapists, social workers and others so they can tell us what’s happening in their practices,” said Ives Erickson.

After the RPPE survey was tested, validated and adjustments were made, in 2009 Ives Erickson and other MGH nursing leaders published details about the survey and its results. Ives Erickson then decided to delve into differences between domestic and international professional practice environments and designed a study of five sites worldwide, using the RPPE tool. Results indicated that it was effective for both groups and identified variations. These findings led her to further examine existing literature about care environments.

The takeaway message, Ives Erickson said, is that a successful professional practice environment is one that empowers clinicians to knowingly participate in change. In closing, she emphasized the need for continued research and evaluation.

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