SOARing Into Strategic Planning: Engaging Nurses to Achieve Significant Outcomes

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Abstract

In 2013, a new system chief nursing officer engaged the nursing leaders and staff in an Appreciative Inquiry process utilizing strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results (SOAR), and a Journey of Excellence to assess and understand the current environment. The ultimate goal was to engage all nurses in strategic planning and goal setting to connect their patient care to the system strategic initiatives. This work led to the creation of a nursing vision, a revised professional practice model and greater council alignment, resulting in significant positive change and ongoing advancement throughout the system. The shared decision-making structure was key to the process with a direct connection of each council's goals, leading to the successful achievement of 34 of the 36 goals in 2 years. This article outlines the process, tools, and staff engagement strategies used to achieve system-wide success. This methodology has improved the outcomes across the organization in both small and system-wide work groups. This work can easily be replicated and adapted to help disparate staffs brought together through mergers or acquisitions to become aligned as a new team. This process, model, and framework, provides structure and results in significant outcomes that recognizes and celebrates the work of individual entities while aligning future strategies and goals.

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