Nurses Urged to Examine Their Changing Role

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , November 1, 2011

3. Measure value not volume

"We are moving out of an age of volume into an age of value," said Porter-O'Grady. Nursing needs to stop measuring itself in terms of volume and start looking at the value it provides. Nurses are not valuable to their organizations simply because of all the many tasks they do. They are valuable because of the outcomes they produce and this is what needs to be emphasized.

Nurse leaders' role is to identify the parts of the job nurses do that have value and make a difference and the parts that don't belong in the role of RN. Do this by asking what impact the work has or whether it changed something, he said.

We will no longer be paid for volume of work. "Work is not valuable because you do it. It has to have meaning," he said. We all know healthcare is getting more complicated—the only way to maximize the value of what nurses do is to do less of the work that doesn't add value so there is more time to devote to the increasingly complex work that does.

The frontline nursing leaders attending last week's conference are the ones who can help organizations make this crucial distinction.

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at

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2 comments on "Nurses Urged to Examine Their Changing Role"

Deb (11/14/2011 at 11:37 AM)
Tim is on the money with not relying on the most experinced nurses to provide orientation. This is validated by Benners Novice to Expert work. The expert nurse often loses the ability to articulate the why of what they do. An advanced beginner or proficient nurse still executes tasks thoughtfully and can recall the reason why they are doing what they do.

Rebekah (11/2/2011 at 12:21 PM)
Amen! I'm an "old nurse" but I never fail to learn from the students and the new graduates. They have so much to offer in technology and we have so much to offer regarding regarding intuition, the platnum rule, and the "new" social etiquette among other things. Mentoring is a good thing, transformational leadership and education through andragogy is awesome! Thanks for the article Ms.Hendren!




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