Nursing policies and protocols exist to promote high-quality, safe, and effective nursing practice; however, there is little evidence demonstrating how nurses actually use them to inform their everyday, routine practice.
The purposes were to explore the extent to which nurses use nursing policies and protocols to guide their routine practice, and identify barriers and facilitators affecting the frequency with which nurses use nursing policies and protocols.
Licensed nurses (N = 235) providing direct care to inpatients and outpatients in a large medical center participated in an 18-question online survey.
Most nurses access policies and protocols once a month or more; the greatest barrier to more frequent access was length of the policy or protocol.
Organizations should make policies and protocols succinct, current, and easily accessible. Studies are needed to determine how policies and procedures can best meet the needs of stakeholders, including health care organizations, staff, and patients.