- Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
- Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
- Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other healthcare professionals, in redesigning healthcare in the United States.
- Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.
While each of these key messages is important, the last two stand out in light of the nurse executive’s role in promoting organizational quality and patient safety initiatives. These key messages speak to the need to transform the nursing profession in three crucial areas: practice, education, and leadership. They also highlight the need to collect meaningful real-time data on the healthcare workforce and quality indicators to inform planning for necessary changes to the nursing profession and the overall healthcare system.
Quality is defined in a variety of ways: a peculiar and essential character; an inherent feature; and a distinguishing attribute (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Other definitions include: a degree of excellence (Dictionary.com), the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind (Oxford), or a state of being free of deficits, defects and variations of any kind (BusinessDictionary.com). As healthcare focuses on an increasing number of safety initiatives, nurse leaders are key to successful outcomes. But how are these quality initiatives and outcomes defined? How do we best align quality and patient safety? With a myriad of healthcare professionals at the table, nurse leaders must have the skills to set the table for success.