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The Value of a Positive Practice Environment

4 min readFebruary, 14 2024

Everyone would want to work in an environment where they are appreciated, respected, supported, fulfilled, and inspired. By creating and sustaining a positive practice environment, nurses can achieve their full potential in an environment that also delivers high-quality patient care.

What is a Positive Practice Environment?

According to the ANCC Pathway to Excellence Framework, there are six standards that are essential for developing a positive practice environment for nursing teams across a variety of healthcare settings.

  • Shared Decision-Making - creates opportunities for direct care nurses to network, collaborate, share ideas, and be involved in decision-making.
  • Leadership - supports a shared governance environment by ensuring that leaders are accessible and that they facilitate collaborative decision-making.
  • Safety - prioritizes both patient and nurse safety, and fosters a respectful workplace culture free of incivility, bullying, and violence.
  • Quality - is central to an organization's mission, vision, goals, and values, and is based on person- and family-centered care, evidence-based care, continuous improvement, and improving population health.
  • Well-Being - promotes a workplace culture of recognition for the contribution of nurses and the healthcare provider team. Additionally, this standard provides staff with support and resources to promote their physical and mental health.
  • Professional Development - ensures that nurses are competent to provide care and provides them with mentoring, support, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

A positive practice environment also directly impacts bottom-line results related to personnel, productivity, and patient quality indicators, such as errors and safety events, and patient satisfaction.

Happy group of multi-cultural nursing staff seated at a conference table, engaged in conversation.

The Benefits of a Positive Practice Environment

Some specific benefits of a positive practice environment are reduced staff turnover, improved job satisfaction, reduced hiring costs, and improved patient care quality.

Reduce Staff Turnover

According to a recent article on the nursing shortage, the current national average nursing turnover rate is 8.8 % to 37.0%, depending on geographic location and nursing specialty. High nurse turnover rates negatively affect the ability of hospitals and other health care settings to maintain appropriate staffing metrics, meet patient needs, and provide quality care. In a May 2023 survey conducted by the American Nurses Foundation, the top reason nurses gave for leaving their former job in the last 6 months was not feeling valued by their organization. A worker that feels safe, supported, and valued on the job will have less reason to leave. Creating and sustaining a positive practice environment for your nursing team increases job satisfaction and decreases the likelihood of rapid staff turnover. This has a significant impact on both patient outcomes and the overall financial costs to your organization.

Gain Financial Benefits

The average cost of finding and “on-boarding” a new hire bedside RN is $40,038, and ranges from $28,400 to $51,700. With lower turnover, the cumulative cost of new hires will dramatically decrease. Despite the high cost of training new hires, evidence suggests that facilities will benefit in the long run from appropriate and stable staffing, especially as mortality and length-of-stay decreases. Reducing staff turnover translates into a better return on investment, and a more robust financial status.

Improve Patient Quality Outcomes

Patient outcomes can be positively impacted by the quality of the nursing care they receive. This is the whole premise behind the prestigious Magnet Recognition Program. Positive practice environments that have high nurse autonomy and decision-making ability, strong leadership and support (like in a Magnet designated hospital) have been shown to produce better patient outcomes and lower hospital mortality rates

Working in a positive practice environment leads to better patient outcomes, a more robust financial bottom-line, and better job satisfaction for nurses. However, most importantly of all, nursing is a profession based on professional integrity. It’s knowing that at the end of the day your nursing team has lived up to the Scope and Standards of Practice, and done all they can to deliver the highest possible quality patient care while working in a positive practice environment


Images sourced from Getty Images

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