Effecting change

Cynthia van Ammers' research considered factors facilitating evidence-based practice.

Implementing change is challenging but necessary, to keep up with developments in best practice in many professional environments including nursing practice. Evidence-based practice matters to ensure nursing staff are doing the right thing with the best available information. But how to achieve this when it is simpler to continue to replicate "this is the way we do things here"?

Cynthia van Ammers, now a Lecturer in our School of Nursing, explored this issue for her Masters' thesis, undertaking an integrated review of the role of nurse leaders in facilitating a culture of evidence-based practice. She was seeking research-informed strategies that would help equip individuals and organisations to implement change. 

Cynthia identified three major themes:

  • Organisational context: The culture, the governance model and the organisation's strategic planning were key factors.
  • Leadership competencies: Unsurprisingly, core leadership competencies were important, but so was visible leadership, walking the wards.
  • Strategies for stakeholder engagement: One of these strategies was the importance of multi-disciplinary collegial relationships. The whole team needs to be on board.

It is easy to say that organisations and their staff should be following best practice, but what might be best practice for someone in one role, might not also be best for every other team member and for patients' experience. Considering what changes to implement, and how, has to take into account all stakeholder perspectives.

November 2019

Image credit: College of DuPage, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0