In today’s health care system, “quality” and “safety” are one in the same when it comes to patient care. As Florence Nightingale described our profession long ago, it takes work and vigilance to ensure we are doing the best we can to care for our patients. (Mitchell, 2008)
The World Health Organization outlines 6 areas of quality that help shape our definition of what makes quality care. Those areas are; (1) Effective: using evidence bases practice to improve health outcomes based on needs of individuals and communities. (2) Efficient: healthcare that maximizes resources and minimizes waste. (3) Accessible: timely care that is provided in a setting where the skills and resources are appropriate for the medical need and is geographically reasonable. (4) Acceptable/Patient-Centered: healthcare that considers individual needs, preferences, and culture. (5) Equitable: healthcare quality that does not vary because of race, gender, ethnicity, geographical location, or socioeconomically status. (6) Safe: healthcare that minimizes harm and risks to patients. (Bengoa, 2006)
Another factor being looked at in quality of care is patient satisfaction. There has been some debate as to whether the patient’s perception of their care truly reflects the quality of care. I feel like this can be looked at from both angles. The nurse to patient ratio certainly factors into this as well as the acuity of the patients which can vary dramatically. Just stepping onto the floor we have a long list of “to do’s” for our patients; doctors to call, test results to look for, protoco...
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...de of sentinel events. Nursing Management, 37(5), 20.
Lippincott , Williams, & Wilkins, (2012). Sentinel event alert spotlights nurse fatigue. Clinical Rounds, 42(3), 27-29. doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000411416.14033.f5
Mitchell, P. H. (2008). Defining patient safety and quality care an evidence-based handbook for nurses. Rockville,Maryland: Hughes. DOI: //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2681/
Bengoa, R. (2006). Quality of care: a process for making strategic choices in health systems.. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Wall, Y., & Kautz, D. (2011). Preventing sentinel events caused by family members. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 30(1), 25-27. doi: 10.1097/DCC.0b013e3181fd02a0
The Joint Commission. (2013). Sentinel events. Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals, Retrieved from
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