Accreditation & Regulatory Journal
May 2023

CIHQ-ARS Article

How to Effectively Introduce Nursing Policies to Staff

Healthcare organizations need to address nursing policies and procedure issues with urgency and nurses must understand the importance of policies and procedures and how they help ensure patient and staff safety. In this article, we will discuss the importance of nursing policies and how to introduce and implement those policies in your healthcare facility.
Importance of Policies and Procedures In Healthcare
Clear establishment of policies and procedures is essential. A policy is a rule or guideline that directs action. Policies are dictated by patient-care processes, administrative processes, regulations, and/or accrediting organization standards. They are typically high-level statements of what must be done.
Procedures are the step-by-step instructions, the “directions” for how a policy should be implemented.
Healthcare workers need well-written and easily accessible policies and procedures to function effectively and efficiently. Well-executed policies and procedures provide for patient and staff safety and reduce risk.
Having unclear or difficult-to-locate policies and procedures can be disastrous. Inconsistent practices ultimately harm the patient population and put the healthcare worker and facility at risk.
Putting Policies Into Practice
For policies and procedures to be effective, they must be implemented. Hospital leaders must ensure that staff read and understand the organization’s policies and procedures. Even the best policies will be unsuccessful if not effectively communicated.
After creating policies and procedures, put a plan into place to implement them. Ensure policies and procedures are maintained in a centralized location. Centralized storage of policies and procedures allows staff access 24/7. Technology has made it easier to maintain documents where the most current policy and procedure is easy to reference. Gone are the days of toting around a colossal policy binder!
Distribute Policies and Obtain Employee Sign Off
Nurses are busy; therefore, an efficient way to get policies and procedures to them quickly and conveniently is necessary. Policy management software can help in a majority of ways. Tools such as MCN’s policy management software provides a competency module where employees are alerted to a new or revised policy that they need to review and then take a quiz or attest that they have read and understand the policy and procedure. Employee sign-off ensures that the staff and the facility are on the same page.
Train Employees on the New Policies
Some policies may need a training course. Training can help employees to see and retain new and updated procedures. It can also help employees see how the policy or procedure affects them and their work. It is crucial that any training that is needed follows the policy and procedure. Training courses should be updated when policies and procedures are revised. Employee understanding and compliance should be monitored.
Monitor Policy Compliance and Effectiveness
Employers should assess the effectiveness of policies and procedures on a regular basis. Policy objectives should be clear and precise, and each policy should have measurable goals.
Employers are responsible for monitoring any violations of policy and procedure. Violation of policy must be investigated, corrective action taken and staff education provided.
Measuring the effectiveness of policies in conjunction with patient care and satisfaction is also helpful. Regularly evaluating successes and failures will help with future policy and procedure development.
The field of nursing is continuously evolving. With changes in evidence-based practice, policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated in established timeframes. Effectively implementing nursing policies protects the patient, employee, and organization as a whole. There should be a well-thought-out plan to review and revise current policies as needed, implement new policies, communicate changes, and measure policy effectiveness.
Schedule a no-obligation demo to see how MCN Healthcare’s policy management solution can help your organization manage your CIHQ and ARS policies and procedures efficiently.