Environments are either safe or they are unsafe
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It is pretty much black and while regarding safety. Something is safe or it is unsafe. It is the responsibility of the nurse to identify and determine the safety of the environment. With knowledge gained through basic nursing education and continuing education nurses should be adept at safety recognition skills. The Quality and Safety Education of Nurses (QSEN) is quoted in Hood (2014), “If QSEN meets its lofty goals, then the goals of all members of the interprofessional health care team will be attuned to safety issues in health care and use QI strategies to improve the quality and safety of health care delivery (p. 497).
Within the healthcare team it is of utmost importance to attain these objectives of safety through communication. Open channels of communication must take place between nurses and patients, nurses and physicians, nurses and ancillary staff and nurses and administration. With the increasing ease and speed of technological communication today, competence in this arena should be achievable with minimal effort.
It is important for nurses to have a thorough understanding of the extreme importance of not only creating an environment that is safe but to maintain that environment through quality improvement. As stated in Hood (2014), “Florence Nightingale can be considered the first nurse who engaged in quality improvement (QI) activities. During the Crimean War, Nightingale’s work at the Barrack Hospital demonstrated the effects of quality nursing care on wounded and infirm soldiers. The mortality rate at the Barrack Hospital was 60% when Nightingale arrived. By the time she departed, it had fallen to just a fraction over 1%” (p. 490). It is impressive what one person can do with determination. The QSEN as stated in Hood (2014), “Using basic principles of QI (identification of ways to improve, developing an action plan, implementing the plan, measuring plan results, comparing results with baseline data, and determining the effectiveness of the plan), the participants designed a program to improve the safety and quality education for the health professions, especially the nursing profession” (p. 496). The QSEN succinctly describes the outline for quality improvement studies. It is important to understand the process in order to create a continuing culture of safety. Implementation of a specific plan, assessing and reassessing data is the basis of any quality improvement study.
In conclusion, it requires strategies and critical thinking for nurses to develop environments for direct-care nursing to be conducive to safety and quality improvement. It takes nursing skill, gained knowledge and leadership of action to assess and implement safety measures across the continuum of care. Quality improvement studies will assure the increase in the safety of health care delivery for the days ahead.
Hood, L. J. (2014). Leddy & Pepper’s conceptual bases of professional nursing (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Sprayberry, L. (2014). A response to the transformation of America’s healthcare: Direct-care nurses bring FLOWERSTM to the bedside. MedSurg Nursing, 23(2), 123-130.
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