Interprofessional Leadership, Environments and Outcomes
There is a growing emphasis on the idea of joy in the workplace and a push to add a 4th Aim for Healthcare’s Triple Aim focused on positive practice environments for clinicians. It is easy to understand why this is so important. We have 30+ years worth of data that has identified positive practice environments for clinicians are associated with better outcomes for patients, the workforce and organizations.
Positive Practice Environment Outcomes
Better professional practice environments for clinicians have been linked to a host of positive outcomes including, but not limited to:
- lower infection rates
- improved satisfaction scores
- lower mortality rates
- lower burnout rates
- improved job satisfaction
- lower vacancy rates
- operational effectiveness
- financial optimization
Leadership by the Numbers
Speaking solely from an acute care perspective, it is not difficult to extrapolate that there are generally between 5-7 (25,000-35,000) members of the executive leadership teams at the approximately 5000 hospitals in the US. These leaders are responsible for expanding interprofessionalism and improving the professional practice environment of the majority of the:
- 3.6 million nurses
- 100,000 occupational therapists
- 300,000 pharmacists
- 800,000 physicians
- 200,000 physical therapists
- 600,000 social workers
In short, not a lot of people leading a whole bunch of professionals. So while there is an extensive body of knowledge showing the importance of better professional practice work environments for direct caregivers we are limited in the metrics that identify the role of leaders in making these professional practice environments good or better.
Interprofessional Connections in Positive Professional Practice
Preliminary data in this area suggests that positive professional practice environments exist in places where leaders have collegial interprofessional relationships, expect great things of the people that work with them, are able to access/ advocate for resources, and are empowered, having authority to make a difference.
Most of you reading the blog can attest to having worked in positive professional practice environments. Similarly, you may have worked in places that might not have been so great. In each instance, consider what you felt you could accomplish, consider the leader in your professional practice environment and consider the interprofessional relationships.
For this reason, I am really excited, I think I used the word “jazzed” to work with CAIPER to further this exploration of leadership and the impact on interprofessionalism, professional practice environments and outcomes.
Thoughtful development of those leading our interprofessional teams is imperative. Joy in the workplace and bettering the professional practice environment are make-or-break outcomes for our healthcare systems and wellness (even matters of life and death) for our patients. It cannot be left to chance.
This article is a personal reflection on the December 8, 2016 launch meeting of the Interprofessional by Design™: Meeting at the Crossroads to Accelerate Leadership Competency and Readiness for Transition to Interprofessional Practice. Dr. Adams serves in an organizational partner grant role aligned with its Interprofessional Leadership Development component. Funding collaboration for this ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation (CONHI) grant award is made possible by The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, through the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey M. Adams is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Workforce Outcomes Research and Leadership Development (WORLD-Institute) and the Director of the interprofessional Executive Fellowship in Innovation Health Leadership. He is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellow and was recently elected to serve as Chairperson of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Building Systems Excellence.