1. Graff, Diane MSN, RN, BC, CNS
  2. Quinn, Colleen BSN, RN
  3. Zuzelo, Patti R. EdD, APRN,BC, CNS

Article Content


The purpose of this education project is to operationalize a conceptual model of nursing for Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, an urban, teaching, healthcare network comprised of a medical center, acute rehabilitation institution, behavioral health facility, long-term-care setting, and skilled care facility. The objectives are: (1) to explore a variety of models that were selected by nurses involved in the shared governance and management structures; (2) to educate nurses about nursing theories and conceptual frameworks; (3) to select a conceptual model using democratic practices that encourage participatory decision making; and (4) to operationalize the selected model for the network's nursing department.



This educational program is perceived as an opportunity to reshape and redefine network nursing by establishing a common language and common point of view within and between patient/client care facilities.



Nursing systems considering ANCC Magnet Status recognition are compelled to consider refining or establishing a conceptual model to frame nursing practice within the organization. Exploratory discussions across the network regarding the future possibility of magnet status recognition led the chief nurse executive to consider the opportunities associated with choosing a model for framing nursing practice. The process of selecting a conceptual model that is relevant and meaningful to the nurses practicing within the organization is challenging and interesting and, at times, frustrating. The Albert Einstein Healthcare Network (AEHN) has been exploring the possibilities associated with selecting a model for practice. There are many challenges. Nurses have a variety of educational backgrounds. Many nurses are diploma- or associate's degree-prepared but without formal education in nursing theories or conceptual models. Some nurses are concerned about additional paperwork or substantial practice changes that may increase workload. Others are intrigued by the possibilities of practice within a shared framework but are challenged to find the time to participate in the conceptual model activities. AEHN began this journey using a variety of strategies, including inservices, presentations, and conceptual model discussion groups.



AEHN has approached the conceptual model selection process from several vantage points. Nurses involved in shared governance processes were provided with education related to conceptual models of nursing and theoretical frameworks. These nurses, as well as Nursing Management, were encouraged to select a variety of models that were interesting and relevant to AEHN practice. These models were carefully scrutinized by conceptual model discussion groups. Discussion outcomes were shared via electronic mail, committee reports, and the evidence-based nursing practice newsletter, E-Cubed (E3). Staff education programs were planned and scheduled, but poor registration mandated creative teaching/learning modalities. Work continues to gather input from staff, to consider strategies for disseminating information, and to provide rudimentary education to those nurses without a basic understanding of nursing theory while not alienating those nurses with some degree of expertise.



Plans are underway to use multimedia resources to inform staff and to develop a sense of inclusiveness in the conceptual model selection process. A steering committee model is in place with representation from across the network. AEHN anticipates selecting a model by fiscal year-end.



A conceptual model for AEHN nursing practice may provide nurses at the point of care with a common framework for approaching patient/client care. A model may also assist nurses in improving key quality initiatives and providing a sense of identity that may be important to nurse satisfaction.