Nursing Excellence: Professional Practice Model

A Professional Practice Model is the overarching conceptual framework for nurses, nursing care, and interdisciplinary patient care.  It is a schematic description of a system, theory, or phenomenon that depicts how nurses practice, collaborate, communicate, and develop professionally to provide the highest quality care for those served by the organization (e.g., patients, families, community).  The visual UT Medical Center model was designed in the form of the tulip poplar, which is Tennessee's state tree. The Nursing Professional Practice Model illustrates the alignment and integration of nursing practice with the organizations mission, vision and values.  In support of the organizational mission, the nurses are committed to providing evidence based care that promotes safe and compassionate healing, educating staff and those we serve, and exploring new practices that improve patient outcomes and influence future nursing practice.


To serve through healing, education and discovery.


To be nationally recognized for excellence in patient care, medical education and biomedical research.

Nursing care is grounded (demonstrated by the roots) in the organizational values.

  • Integrity – The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
  • Compassion – The motivation to help others.
  • Excellence – Striving to be the best at everything we do.
  • Innovation – Making meaningful change to improve health care services and create new value for stakeholders.
  • Collaboration – Working together to make decisions and achieve a goal.
  • Dedication – Devotion to our cause.

The trunk of the tree represents the health care team providing interdisciplinary care.  The support and coordination of care provided by all of the UT Medical Center team strives to best meet the needs of each patient and family. The model of nursing care, Patient and Family Centered Care, is at the center of the Professional Practice Model.

  • Patient and Family Centered Care is “an approach to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients, and families.”
  • It “leads to better health care outcomes, improved patient and family experience of care, better clinician and staff satisfaction, and wiser allocation of resources.”

Surrounding the patient and family are the four core concepts of Patient and Family Centered Care.

  • D = Dignity and Respect – Health care practitioners listen to and honor patient and family perspectives and choices. Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.
  • P = Participation – Patients and families are encouraged and supported in participating in care and decision-making at the level they choose.
  • I = Information Sharing – Health care practitioners communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Patients and families receive timely, complete, and accurate information in order to effectively participate in care and decision making.
  • C = Collaboration – Patients, families, health care practitioners, and health care leaders collaborate in policy and program development, implementation and evaluation, in research, in facility design and in professional education, as well as, the delivery of care.

Note the acronym “DPIC”, as the tree is a depiction of the Nursing Professional Practice Model and was created to help nurses remember each of these concepts. The inner ring – Nursing practice guidelines are the concepts and structures that support patient and family centered care providers at the bedside.  They ensure providers practice and deliver care at the highest level for the patients and families. These guidelines include:

  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Professional Nursing Standards
  • ANA Code of Ethics
  • Service Excellence
  • TN Nurse Practice Act

The outer ring – Structures that supports and empowers nursing practice in all settings. For example, UT Medical Center encourages ongoing professional development activities and professional certifications and the shared governance system and unit council structure guides decision making for nursing practice.

  • Accountability – Annual evaluation process, Talent Management System, Safety Intelligence event reporting, Just Culture, clinical competencies
  • Professional Development – Nursing Grand Rounds, professional nursing certifications, QUEST, continuing education
  • Shared Governance – Nursing Quality & Safety Council, Nursing Professional Development Council, Nursing Innovation & Evidence-Based Council, Nursing Practice Council, Nursing Retention & Recruitment Council, Nursing Leadership Council, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Council, and Nursing Unit Councils.
  • Professional Recognition – DAISY Awards, Nurse Excellence Awards, QUEST

The outer leaves – Show factors for a healthy and satisfying environment for nurses to practice.

  • Team Member Satisfaction  – Annual Team Member Engagement Survey
  • Healthy Work Environment – De-escalation training offered by Security/canine force, OSHA standards
  • Team Member Wellness – On-site fitness center, counseling services, on-site pharmacy