5 Tips for Building Nurse Excellence, Outcomes

Meryl Montgomery, RN, for HealthLeaders Media , November 16, 2010

For example, at our organization, a question was asked by a neonatal nurse, "What can we do to reduce crying in our 32-36 week old babies?" These babies were not able to be feed and had up to seven crying episodes a day, lasting 30 minutes. Traditional methods of cuddling and swaddling were not effective; however, nurses noticed that when mom or dad sang to the babies, crying was reduced. With the help of a school of nursing mentor and the research council, a simple research design was created and all nurses in the unit engaged. They were able to reduce the crying episodes to an average of four per day, lasting five minutes each, by playing a CD—all from asking a simple question. Moms, dads, nurses, and babies were thrilled.

5. Stress empirical outcomes

Investigate what nurse-sensitive indicators are being monitored in what departments by whom. An inventory is especially helpful in determining optimal resources, support structure, accountability, and gaps. Whether you utilize an existing committee or create a nurse quality council, an over-arching team is important to analyze, trend, educate bedside nurses, decide how to simplify and report the data, and determine need for performance improvement projects or research. You will also need to include benchmark data sources at the highest possible level on your inventory and establish goals that will position you to out-perform the mean at the 50th percentile.

Find out what databases are available for RN satisfaction surveys and patient quality indicators; prices and value vary greatly among them. As you begin new services or programs, change practices, or institute innovation, always be thinking of outcomes, goals, and benchmarks.

The journey toward becoming a MRP-designated hospital is amazing and recognizes the excellence embedded within an organization. Since less than 5% of all U.S. hospitals are designated, the MRP can still serve as a blueprint for striving for excellence in patient care and nursing practice. Along the way, champions for the journey generally arise and value becomes clear. Whatever you choose to do, whatever inroads you choose to make, you will make a difference for your patients and for your nurses.


Meryl Montgomery, RN, MSN, is director of the Learning Center at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, in Macon, GA.

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