How Can a Nurse Promote Quality Care in their Profession?

How Can a Nurse Promote Quality Care in their Profession?

There is considerable discussion in the healthcare field about what constitutes quality nursing care. For instance, the Institute of Medicine has defined quality care in terms of standards for populations and individuals that "increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge." The IOM considers quality care synonymous with patient safety.

Similarly, the World Health Organization defines quality care as "the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes." WHO maintains that to achieve these outcomes, healthcare should be effective, safe, efficient, timely, equitable, and peopled-centered.

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Recognizing Quality Care

While most of us may not be able to articulate such an illustrious definition of quality care, we know it when we see it. As a nursing student, you will likely be introduced to lectures and literature that stress quality care. Once you graduate, you will likely strive to work for health care facilities that offer quality care. For that reason, it's important that you understand what some of the parameters mentioned above should look like.

  • Effective care. Services should be based on scientific knowledge and evidence-based guidelines.
  • Safe care. Quality health care should minimize risks, harm to users. It should avoid preventable injuries and reduce medical errors.
  • Timely care. Delays in providing, receiving health care should be minimal.
  • Equal opportunity. Health care should not differ in quality depending on a person's gender, ethnicity, race, geographical location, or socioeconomic status.
  • Efficient health care. Health care should be delivered in a way where waste is avoided and resources maximized.
  • People and culture centered. The health care should take into account the individual and cultural preferences and aspirations of the community that is being served.

Teaching Quality Care to Nursing Students

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has led the way in enhancing nursing faculties' ability to develop quality and safety competencies among nursing program graduates. Faculty development programs have been designed to train and improve curricula so that they can meet the standards of the core competencies listed above.

Fortunately, achievements in medicine and technology have contributed enormously to quality of care. Nursing education has also improved along with these developments. Nursing educators recognize that continuous education goes hand in hand with improving the quality of nursing health care and patient safety.

Some of the issues and topics centered around quality care that nursing students might encounter in the classroom setting are as follows:

  • Treatment of wounds by offering timely diagnosis and evaluation
  • Focusing attention on patient needs in order to maintain safety, independence, recovery, or peaceful death
  • Basing nursing practices on systematic, planned, knowledge-based education and experience
  • Traceability of medical procedures
  • Offering patient education, motivation, monitoring, and early recognition of causes and risk factors
  • Reducing or removing causes and risk factors of health issues through necessary, safe medical treatment
  • Maintenance and optimization of health status, as well as prevention of complications from existing diseases and conditions
  • Appropriate wound treatment that increases satisfaction, reduces pain, increases mobility, reduces aggravating factors, and achieves a satisfactory outcome
  • Scientific research and knowledge about pathology of wound formation and healing
  • Modern achievements that accelerate independence, reduce pain, encourage faster wound healing
  • Practices that develop awareness, knowledge, and relevant experience

Training for a Nursing Career

Continuous nursing education, leading to an associate's degree and beyond, will give you the opportunity to improve your understanding of quality care, so that you are able to deliver it throughout your career. For instance, an associate's degree should help you develop these capabilities, which will in turn enhance your ability to deliver quality care:

  • Contributing to interdisciplinary health care team
  • Effective collaboration in health care settings with individuals, families, communities
  • Executing best practices from health care disciplines to provide competent, safe, effective care
  • Holistic care to promote and improve safety outcomes in multicultural and diverse settings
  • Determination of appropriate prevention and health promotion tactics, contributing to quality care
  • Integration of information management and technology in quality care
  • Demonstration of effective leadership

Why a Good Education Matters in Nursing

Nurses are responsible for the wellbeing and safety of their patients. To master the skills and knowledge you will need for this level of responsibility, you will have to commit to a rigorous educational program leading to an associate's degree that will likely involve the study of nutrition, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, acute care, pharmacology, medical/surgical nursing, and possibly maternal and newborn nursing. To be certified as a registered nurse, or RN, you will need to pass your board exams

How Can a Nurse Promote Quality Care in their Profession?

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