For a Quality Metrics Reality Check, Just Ask a Nurse

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , October 9, 2012

"Nurses have insight into aspects of quality that aren't always documented, but which can make the all-important difference in patient outcomes," said one of the lead investigators, Matthew McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, in a statement.

"They are involved in direct interactions with patients, provide education and support to patients and their families, work alongside other members of the inter-professional healthcare team, and regularly interact with other frontline staff and management, and know how technology and information systems are integrated into the health care system. These things make a difference."

The authors note that although patients will always be the most relevant reporters, nurses' knack for accuracy can fill in the gaps when patients can't report for themselves, such as with critical care, end-of-life care, or even pediatrics.

So, hospital execs and nurse managers, maybe it's time to administer an anonymous survey asking your nurses to answer that one single question: "How would you describe the quality of nursing care delivered to patients in your unit?" As this study shows, the results could deliver yet another reason for nurse leaders to support—and listen to—their staff.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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