Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Suggested Strategies for Successfully Creating an Empowering Work Environment

Individual strategies
 -Engage in continuous learning (Patrick, Laschinger, Wong & Finegan, 2011)
 -Question the status quo (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Debrief successes and failures (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Participate in setting a vision or collective purpose (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Participate in finding common ground (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Share information and resources (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Build trusting relationships (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Create shared values (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Achieve small wins (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Create supportive relationships (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Recognize contributions (Patrick et al., 2011)
 -Practice reflection by keeping a personal journal
 -Seek comprehensive feedback to understand how others perceive behaviour
 -Review the literature on transformational leadership
 -Employ a professional coach and/or seek out a mentor and meet regularly
 -Attend educational events to learn more about leadership, project management, quality improvement
 -Volunteer for leadership opportunities such as leading an initiative or participating as a team member on a quality or change initiative
 -Volunteer to be part of a team to collect data about practice and make it visible through posters and engaging in everyday conversation about the results
 -Participate in huddles and other patient safety initiatives
 -Be a champion for integration of technology at the point-of-care

Team and unit strategies
 -Establish formal and informal leadership roles at the practice level, such as clinical resource persons, project leaders or rounds leaders
 -Facilitate rotation of charge roles
 -Involve nurses in patient care conferences and committees
 -Enable access to employee assistance programs, support groups, post-incident discussion support
 -Provide opportunities for learning and visibility, such as attending board or committee meetings (CNA, 2003a) or leadership development courses/conferences
 -Organize facilitated groups to share leadership experiences and strategies
 -Build peoples’ belief in their abilities through orientation programs, skills training, role modelling and positive feedback (Manojlovich, 2005)
 -Establish quality-improvement teams to respond to staff concerns
 -Share evidence linking nursing to positive patient/client outcomes
 -Share and act on valid and reliable workload data
 -Schedule regular breakfast or coffee meetings with the manager/director/vice-president
 -Hold town hall meetings (Apker et al., 2003)
 -Conduct regular performance appraisals and establish a peer review process

Organization-wide strategies
 -Simplify decision-making structures and processes
 -Consider the complexity of work, diversity, and number people when determining nurse-to-leader ratios in the structuring work groups
 -Establish shared governance structures and processes, such as nursing practice councils and unit-based councils, to govern nurses’ scope of practice (CNA, 2001)
 -Develop strategies and policies to maximize nursing scope of practice (CNA, 2012)
 -Appoint staff nurses to product-review committees
 -Communicate the work of nursing practice committees regularly through newsletters, open forums (Upenieks, 2002b) and web-based technology
 -Provide diversity training, support and accountability program for all nurses
 -Establish mentoring and preceptorship programs (CNA, 2001)
 -Provide internships for both new graduates and experienced nurses

For a full list of references, please refer to the guideline at