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  1. Beal, Judy A. DNSc, RN
  2. Riley, Joan M. EdD, RN
  3. Lancaster, Diane R. PhD, RN


Objective: This study describes essential elements for an optimal clinical practice environment wherein scholarly nursing practice flourishes.


Background: Existing literature confirms that a healthy work environment that supports professional scholarly nursing practice is essential to retention and satisfaction of clinical nurses, enhanced patient safety, and improved patient/family outcomes.


Methods: A subset of data from a larger qualitative study was analyzed using content analysis. Semistructured interviews were conducted at the workplaces of 36 experienced clinical nurses. Data on workplace facilitators and barriers to scholarly nursing practice are reported.


Results: The major study finding is that the optimal practice environment embraces scholarly nursing practice and balances care giving with professional development. The 4 themes integral to this balance included the following: (1) the practice environment needs to openly value scholarly nursing practice, (2) seamless support is needed at every level of the organization, (3) even clinical scholars have professional development needs, and (4) it is a 2-way street.


Conclusion: This study provides new insights into unique key elements essential for the development of scholarly nursing practice in hospital environments.