Why are the principles of practice development so important in modern healthcare? They focus on enhancing the skills, knowledge, and processes within healthcare settings. The implementation of principles leads to better patient care, improved clinical outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction. They play a significant role in enhancing the quality of care and overall effectiveness of healthcare systems.
What is “Practice Development”?
The term “practice development” refers to a systematic approach aimed at assisting practitioners and healthcare teams in critically assessing their practice and identifying areas for improvement (McCormack et al., 2009, p. 93). The process of training improvement involves implementing specific plans and programs while also deconstructing and reconstructing various patterns within the organization. This helps workers gain a clearer understanding of their organizational culture and responsibilities. Consequently, the primary objective of practice development is to establish a more efficient workplace and culture driven by person-centred care (Carradice and Cycle, 2004).
One of the key highlights of individual-centered training development is its emphasis on people. This approach prioritizes showing respect for each individual and holding them in high regard. It involves interacting with people in a manner that enhances their dignity, self-worth, and autonomy while respecting their rights. This core principle lies at the heart of the nursing profession and the healthcare industry.
Caregivers, or healthcare professionals, play a crucial role in ensuring the quality of care provided. Those who deliver healthcare services are responsible for creating and maintaining an atmosphere and culture that fosters the well-being of patients and their loved ones. While healthcare professionals play a significant part in caregiving, the organizations they work for also have a direct impact on the quality of care delivered to patients, as the organizational framework directly influences healthcare professionals (Garbett and McCormack, B 2001).
Organizational culture holds significant importance in nursing management and healthcare as a whole. Practice development contributes to the transformation of organizational cultures by encouraging employees and managers to critically assess their values and beliefs regarding patient care and modify them to promote high-quality patient care. As stated by McCormack and Garbett (2003), healthcare teams need to adapt their practices, procedures, and systems in a way that aligns with person-centered values.
Practice development facilitators assist employees and managers in understanding what needs to be changed and their roles in promoting continuous improvement. This necessitates reflection on the part of employees and managers, as well as an assessment of evidence from their training. Furthermore, it requires consistency, the utilization of evidence-based practices, and the continuation of newly initiated initiatives (Unsworth, 2000). Practice development facilitators employ processes like these to drive change in the workplace: engaging with staff in an ongoing learning experience, encouraging staff to take responsibility for their training, and integrating active learning to cultivate new skills, knowledge, and a transformative culture.
9 Principles of Practice Development
There are nine key principles of practice development that guide its implementation in nursing and other healthcare fields. These principles serve as the standard for both international practice development and the local one.
1. Person-focused culture
The first principle of practice development is the cultivation of a person-centred nursing and culture, which places a strong emphasis on the quality of care provided to clients and their families. This involves the education and empowerment of staff to shift their culture and mindset (Dewing, 2008). These efforts are geared towards facilitating evidence-based, person-centered healthcare delivery, fostering human flourishing, and creating an effective workplace culture across various healthcare settings.
The second principle of practice development is facilitation, which involves the utilization of practice development facilitators. Their role is to raise awareness among staff about the necessary cultural changes and guide them in adopting these changes (Shaw et al., 2008). This principle concentrates on the microsystem, where care is delivered, as the primary change agent. However, it also acknowledges the importance of support from micro and macro levels.
3. Authentic Engagement
The third principle, authentic engagement, is a fundamental aspect of practice development. It emphasizes the role of practice development facilitators in actively engaging with individuals through reflective interactions. This principle goes beyond surface-level engagement, encouraging deep and meaningful interactions that lead to transformative change.
Authentic engagement incorporates work-based learning approaches, which means that learning occurs in the context of the actual work environment. This approach allows for practical, hands-on learning experiences that are directly applicable to the tasks and challenges faced by healthcare professionals.
Furthermore, it promotes active learning within the workplace. It encourages healthcare teams and individuals to actively seek opportunities for learning, growth, and improvement. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, authentic engagement contributes to ongoing professional development and the enhancement of patient care practices.
The fourth principle is centered around the integration of personal character and creativity with skills and wisdom. It emphasizes that healthcare professionals should not only possess technical knowledge but also bring their unique personal qualities and creative thinking to their practice.
It encourages practitioners to harness their creativity and combine it with their expertise to provide the best possible care. It promotes a holistic approach to healthcare, recognizing that effective healthcare delivery is not solely based on evidence-based practices but also on the individual qualities and creativity of healthcare professionals.
5. Active Learning
The fifth principle, active learning, plays a crucial role in enabling healthcare staff to critically analyze their practice and discover innovative solutions to challenges while embracing alternative perspectives. This principle means a deep learning process that harnesses creative synthesis and utilizes a diverse range of learning approaches.
Active learning is not limited to textbooks and guidelines; it also incorporates the valuable experiences of both clinicians and their clients. It encourages critical reflection on these experiences and emphasizes the importance of sharing these insights with colleagues. To facilitate active learning, healthcare practitioners must maintain an open-minded approach, welcoming the diverse experiences and viewpoints of others and continuous professional development (Titchen, 2004).
6. Transformation of Individual and Team Practices
The sixth principle of practice development revolves around the transformation of individual and team practices, with a specific emphasis on cultural change. It also includes peer-reviews. Culture change is a crucial focus within the realm of practice development. Given its person-centered approach, practice development necessitates a fundamental shift in both individual and organizational perspectives, moving the focus from profit-driven goals to prioritizing the well-being and needs of patients.
7. Corporate System
The seventh principle, the corporate system, encompasses vital aspects such as sustainability, practicality, and ethical integrity (McCormack et al., 2007). It emphasizes the importance of aligning healthcare practices with broader corporate values and goals.
This principle is enabled by a well-defined set of methods and processes that are tailored to the specific work environment. It ensures that sustainability practices are not just theoretical concepts but are applied in a practical and meaningful way within the organization. Moreover, it promotes the integration of ethical considerations, such as fairness and responsibility, into the decision-making process, reinforcing the organization’s commitment to upholding ethical standards in healthcare delivery.
8. Skilled Facilitation
The eighth principle places a strong emphasis on the use of specific processes, particularly skilled facilitation, in the development of a skill-set that is closely aligned with the point of care delivery. This principle recognizes the critical role of skilled facilitators in guiding and empowering healthcare professionals to acquire the necessary skills and competencies required for delivering high-quality care.
These processes often involve structured training, mentorship, and ongoing support tailored to the unique needs and challenges encountered at the frontline of care provision. By ensuring that the skill development occurs as close as possible to the interface of care, this principle seeks to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application in clinical practice.
The ninth and final principle emphasizes the evaluation of practice through comprehensive, participatory, and mutual methods. It advocates for the use of inclusive, participatory, and collaborative approaches to evaluate healthcare practices.
This principle recognizes that effective evaluation goes beyond mere data collection and analysis. It encourages the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, patients, and their families, in the evaluation process. By engaging in a participatory and collaborative manner, diverse perspectives and insights are considered, resulting in a more holistic assessment of healthcare practices.
How can Telemedicine help in Practice Development process?
Telemedicine can play a significant role in practice development for healthcare professionals and organizations in several ways:
Improved Patient Engagement
Telemedicine can enhance patient engagement through virtual consultations, messaging, and remote monitoring tools. Engaged patients are more likely to follow treatment plans and schedule regular appointments, leading to better outcomes and increased revenue.
Telemedicine can streamline administrative tasks, reduce paperwork, and enhance scheduling efficiency. This can free up staff time and resources for more revenue-generating activities.
Chronic Care Management
Telemedicine is well-suited for chronic care management programs. Practices can offer remote monitoring services for chronic conditions, creating a recurring revenue stream.
Patient Data and Analytics
Telemedicine platforms often include tools for collecting and analyzing patient data. These insights can be used to identify trends, target specific patient populations, and develop new services or treatments to generate additional revenue.
Offering telemedicine services can be a unique selling point for a practice. Marketing these services effectively can attract new patients and increase the practice’s visibility.
In summary, practice development is crucial for delivering high-quality, person-centered healthcare, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and addressing the ever-evolving challenges of the healthcare industry. It ultimately benefits patients, healthcare professionals, and healthcare organizations as a whole.