Because nurses are the largest group of healthcare providers, they are in the best position to improve patient safety and quality of care. While teaching and preparing students to become nurses, nurse educators have a very important role in helping to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of upcoming nurses related to patient safety. Healthcare professionals, such as nurses, are highly skilled and well educated, but the healthcare system continues to be disrupted by quality and safety issues.
Healthcare errors occur at an alarmingly high incidence and are the eighth leading cause of death (IOM, 2000; Langdrigan, Parry, Bones, Goldman, and Sharek, 2010). The Institute for ...view middle of the document...
Quality measures performance of standard procedures or events. Safety is preventing errors and preventing negative outcomes that happen unrelated to the patient being treated. Safety is constantly working and progressing to make everything as error-proof and as preventative as possible. An example of quality is measuring how many times a patient falls in a certain period of time and comparing it to the average, or ‘normal’ amount of time. An example of safety is using bed or chair alarms to keep patients from getting up when they are not supposed to. Safety is like the watchful eye that prevents errors and accidents, whereas quality measures events and seeks out ways to improve them.
Healthcare is adopting methods of new safety standards that have been adopted from different fields of expertise that have very high safety standards such as railway safety, nuclear power safety, and aviation safety. In today’s healthcare system, errors are reported to a central database. The errors are then investigated to identify what went wrong and how future healthcare providers and patients can prevent a relapse of the same error.
Recognizing the need for changes in how nurses are educated to meet the demands of good quality care and safety, The Quality and Safety Education for Nurses established a national expert panel to define the six core competencies established by the 2003 IOM report for integrating a quality and safety framework for nursing (Cronenwett et al., 2007). The next couple paragraphs will go over two of the most important core competencies and how a nurse can apply safety and quality of care to each of them.
The first core competency is Patient-centered care. Patient-centered care is demonstrated through respect, response, and clear communication. When patients ad families are treated as members of the care team, they can become aware of potential issues, and they can help prevent errors. Patients can do this simply by letting a nurse or doctor know that their medication has been changed to something they have never taken before. A large part of patient-centered care is being aware of cultural differences and being aware of different values, beliefs, and preferences.
The second core competency is teamwork and collaboration. Communication and collaboration are a huge part in having successful teamwork. Teamwork and collaboration are essential for coordinating care plans. Knowing the roles...