Professional Nursing Practice Model

Whole professional nursing practice model graphic

Our Professional Practice Model is a visual representation of the values, organizational structures, and processes that provide a unifying framework for the practice of nursing at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. It ensures consistency in the delivery of nursing care, and defines for all registered nurses their authority, autonomy and accountability as they care for patients and families in our community, our state and world.

  • Authority: The recognition and use of our rights and responsibility to use our nursing knowledge, skills, and judgments, to provide high-quality outcomes for our patients.
  • Autonomy: The making of independent nursing decisions about the best nursing practices to implement in order to provide safe, high-quality outcomes for our patients.
  • Accountability: The acceptance of responsibility for our actions, judgments, and the resulting outcomes.

The Elements

Professional Nursing Practice model new dome graphic


Safe, High-Quality Patient and Family-Centered Care

- Safety: Based on our knowledge of patient needs and the health care environment, we plan and implement interventions to help patients get through the hospital stay without preventable complications and delay.

- Quality: We use our knowledge and skills to help the patient reach optimal outcomes.

- Patient and Family Centered Care: Our nurses provide safe, high-quality care — a model of care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care professionals, patients, and families.


Efforts to deliver safe, high-quality patient and family-centered care to promote a healthier local, regional, and global community.

Within this model, we aspire to provide care with:

  • Dignity and Respect—We listen to and honor the perspectives and choices of our patients and families. We integrate patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs and culture into the assessment, planning, delivery, and evaluation of the care we provide.
  • Compassion—Caring for patients, families, visitors, co-workers, and colleagues with minds, hands, and hearts is the art of nursing.
  • Information Sharing—In a timely manner, we communicate with and share information in plain language so patients and families can make the best health care decisions that match their care goals. We contribute to the development and implementation of electronic tools and systems that provide patients with direct access to their medical records, their health care team, and to education and information that promotes health.
  • Participation—We encourage and support the active involvement and participation of patients and families in decision-making at whatever level they feel most comfortable.



Our nurse leaders are highly visible and accessible. They are key to the success of this practice model. Through transformational leadership, staff nurses are empowered to be leaders ofpatient care at the bedside. The chief nursing executive (CNE) is a member of the Vice President for Medical Affairs Cabinet, the CEO SeniorManagement Team, and the University Hospital Advisory Committee (executive advisory board). The CNE advocates for nurses throughout the health care system. Leadership is dedicated to succession planning and mentoring to ensure the continuity of nursing administration, goal achievement, and fostering future nursing leaders.

Shared Governance

Our nurses share decision-making responsibilities at the unit, division, department, and organizational levels through a shared governance structure dating back to 1974. All levels of nursing staff participate in councils and committees through this structure. Nurses are members of all University Hospital Advisory committees; they participate in unit-based committees; they help design unit-based care-delivery models; and they participate in unit-based multidisciplinary care councils, sharing decision-making responsibilities.


Research is an integral component of our nursing practice. It drives innovation, clinical decision-making, and advances in health care. Our nurses generate knowledge through the conduct, collaboration, and participation in research practices that improve outcomes for our patients.

Evidence Based Practice (EBP)

Our nurses improve the quality of care byapplying new knowledge and innovations as they provide evidence-based care. We are committed to an environment that fosters scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and innovation. We support policies, procedures, and standards of care that are evidence-based. As internationally recognized leaders in EBP, we continue to be on the leading edge of innovation. We support a staff nurse internship to expand EBP across the organization and provide ongoing training opportunities for nurses throughout the state, regionally, nationally, and internationally.


Our nurses work in an environment of continual learning. We educate and empower patients and families to understand illness and treatment to support them as they make health care decisions. Patient education is provided using health literacy and plain language principles.

We promote and support all levels of professional education, including a nurse residency program to facilitate transition into practice and competency-based orientation, as well as ongoing professional development. Our Nurse Residency Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (2013-2018). We support the pursuit of advanced degrees, professional certification, and continuing education. We participate in active role modeling, sharing our expertise, and learning collaboratively with colleagues across disciplines.

Our collegial relationships with the University of Iowa College of Nursing and other health science colleges enhance the educational component of our practice environment.

Clinical Expertise

Our nurses are grounded in the science and art of nursing. They have exemplary clinical knowledge and the skills to provide excellent care based on the unique needs and attributes of each patient. We work in a culture of safety and quality and utilize care-delivery models that allow nurses to be accountable fortheir practice and clinical decision-making at the point of care. We work skillfully in an environment with a high level of electronic information systems that support patient, family, and interdisciplinary communication. Our engagement in the development of information systems and device integration is a key to our success.




Innovative nursing practice guided by the “Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice” generates new knowledge and evidenced-based care.


Dedication to interdisciplinary teamwork and patient and family involvement in health care decision-making strengthens relationships and improves outcomes.


Our nurses are accountable to patients, families, and colleagues to provide high-quality nursing care. Staff are accountable for professional development and participation in peer review.


We protect the dignity and rights of all. We adhere to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses, the ANA Nurse’s Bill of Rights, the UI Health Care Code of Ethical Behavior, and the federally-mandated Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities policies.


The UI Hospitals & Clinics Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care is recognized for excellence in patient care delivery and clinical outcomes by the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. The initial designation was awarded in 2004; re-designation was awarded in 2008, 2013 and 2018.