Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 20(4) December 2007 : 65-80.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2007.19472
Nursing Research

Policies and Procedures: A Tool to Support the Implementation of Clinical Guidelines?

Isabelle St-Pierre, Barbara Davies, Nancy Edwards and Patricia Griffin


The authors would like to dedicate this article to co-author Dr. Pat Griffin who peacefully passed away on May 6th, 2007 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Dr. Griffin, who was passionate about nursing and a source of inspiration for many, will be greatly missed.In honour of Dr. Griffin, the Dr. Pat Griffin Fund of CASN (Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing) has been set up to support nursing research in education. For further information please see the CASN website:

Objectives: To explore the use of policies and procedures as a tool to support the implementation of clinical guidelines and to determine the relationship between organizational support and stability with nurses' perception of policy change.

Design: Secondary analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected in the post-intervention phase of the study entitled Evaluation of the Dissemination and Utilization of Best Practice Guidelines by Registered Nurses in Ontario.

Setting: Eleven agencies across Ontario, Canada.

Participants: Fifty nursing staff, 32 nurse administrators and 22 clinical resource nurses (90% response) participated in semi-structured interviews. A total of 316 randomly selected nursing staff from 23 participating units in 11 agencies completed questionnaires (65% response).

Methods: Qualitative data from semi-structured interviews were examined to determine whether participants had modified their policies and procedures as part of the implementation of clinical guidelines. Using SPSS 11.0 for Windows, the authors assessed, using independent t-tests, the relationship between the perception of modification of policies and procedures and the perceptions of organizational support and organisational stability.

Results: While modifications to policies and procedures were made at each agency as part of the implementation of clinical guidelines, 27% of staff disagreed that modifications had been made. Nursing staff who agreed that changes had been made to policies and procedures were significantly more likely to report positive organizational support for clinical guideline implementation.

Conclusion: Findings suggest the need to increase nursing staffs' awareness of changes to policies and procedures during clinical guideline implementation. Furthermore, results indicate that organizational support may have a positive influence on modifications to policies and procedures that are guided by research-based clinical guideline recommendations.



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