1. Lockhart, Lisa MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC

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Q: What does a professional practice model (PPM) entail?

A: A PPM defines an organization's nursing practice by outlining the beliefs, theories, and values that drive its nurses' daily work. It typically consists of five components: values, professional relationships, a patient care delivery model, a management approach, and compensation/rewards. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) outlines what a PPM should include.

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First and foremost, there should be a focus on clinical practice that's built on best practice, multidisciplinary collaboration, accountability, and high quality. Nurses have a voice in policy and procedure development, staffing levels, work flow, and process decisions. Secondly, nurses should be rewarded and recognized for their contributions to practice, excellence, and quality. Nursing represents the single largest workforce in healthcare and we drive best practice.


The next two items that the AACN lists refer to leadership (note the keyword isn't management). Although managers and reporting structure are mentioned, it's clear that nurses need to be leaders, sitting at the table with other contributing disciplines and making decisions that affect practice and organizational policy and procedure. This goes hand in hand with the next requirement-empowerment. Nurses must feel empowered to initiate change; speak up when something is wrong; and make a stand against substandard conditions, unhealthy work environments, and poor care quality.


We must also have the ability to achieve clinical advancement. This may be accomplished through the support of continuing education, specialty certifications, succession planning, and career ladder development. Financial rewards should be a part of this structure. This leads us to what the AACN refers to as professional development-the investment that the organization makes in nurse educators and researchers, clinical leaders, and leadership training. Multidisciplinary involvement, collegiality, collaboration, and best practice are included in this process.


When you search the Internet for facilities that have published their PPMs, it's evident that the guidance provided by the AACN is present. The PPMs you find refer to nurses as partners, healthcare leaders, and patient champions, and career development is prominent. When developing a PPM, it's essential that organizations encompass the AACN's requirements for a healthy work environment, which include valuing nurses and our contributions to quality patient outcomes, healthcare systems design, and care delivery.




American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Hallmarks of the professional nursing practice environment.