1. Section Editor(s): Oermann, Marilyn H. PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF

Article Content

It is more critical than ever for clinicians to share their innovations, best practices, quality improvement (QI) projects, and studies. All too often nurses assume that when their innovation is implemented, project is completed, or study is finished, their work is done. However, there is another step-dissemination. Dissemination is communicating the information to others within your organization or more broadly. Through dissemination nurses can spread their innovations, best practices, and findings from their QI and other studies, providing new evidence to guide practice and building the knowledge base of nursing (Oermann & Hays, 2011). Much has been written about evidence-based practice in nursing, but all too often we forget that it is up to nurses to provide the evidence for evidence-based practice.


When you have information you want to disseminate, you should consider these five questions because the answers will guide your dissemination efforts. The first question is what is going to be disseminated? In developing a plan for dissemination, you need to be clear about the specific information to be communicated. For example, if you completed a QI project on your unit, the specific information to be disseminated could be a description of the Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) strategy and how maternal-child nurses could use this method in their own settings, or the goal could be to communicate the outcomes of the project.


The second question is why is this information important for other nurses to know about? Your dissemination message needs to capture nurses' interest and convince them of the importance of the information to their practice. By emphasizing why your project or study findings will make a difference in patient care, it is more likely that nurses will take time from their busy schedules to learn about your work.


The third question is who will use the information? Answering that question helps you identify the target audience, for example, staff nurses, and their needs. Your target audience, may be clinicians on your unit, or the goal may be to reach nurses beyond your setting. Knowing your intended audience guides how you disseminate the information.


The fourth question to answer in your dissemination plan is how will you disseminate your information? There are various dissemination methods: articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, presentations at conferences, reports or newsletters in your agency, posting on your Intranet or Web sites, and sending summaries of your work via list serves and e-mail. To disseminate your ideas widely, preparing a manuscript for a journal is most effective because then readers worldwide can access your ideas when they search the literature. However, sometimes your information is not yet ready for publication in a journal. In those instances, you may want to first test out your ideas using other dissemination methods such as summarizing your innovation or findings in a newsletter, on the Intranet, or as a poster in your agency and discussing your ideas with colleagues. At some point though you should move beyond those dissemination methods to writing about your ideas in a manuscript for a journal.


When you plan your next project on your unit, add dissemination as one of the steps and designate someone to provide the leadership for developing the dissemination plan and following it through. Remember that your project or study is not done until you share what you have learned with others.




Oermann, M. H., & Hays, J. (2011). Writing for publication in nursing (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. [Context Link]