The need for quality improvement in healthcare has continually spurred healthcare stakeholders into devising ways through which this can be achieved. Improving the quality of healthcare has been found to be directly beneficial in improving the safety of the patients, as well as in reducing the soaring costs of treatment. Stakeholders in the healthcare industry concur about the important roles that the nurses play in improving quality. Not only can the nurses play the role of change agents directed towards quality, but they, the nurses, also play the role of advocacy for the required changes intended to improve quality (Draper, Felland, Liebhaber & Aelichar, 2008).
Leaders are responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining activities that are targeted towards the improvement of quality healthcare services. For example, the leaders in this hospital have acknowledged the importance of ideal nurse staffing in improving quality. Insufficient staffing has been associated with adverse patient outcomes, increased costs of treatment, and overall deterioration of the health of individuals and populations. As a result, the role of the professional nurse in quality improvement cannot be overlooked (Draper et al., 2008).
Nurses, in conjunction with and under the direction of the leadership, contribute to improvement of quality care through advocacy and initiation of change. Nurses interact directly with the patients, and are also at the forefront of the provision of healthcare services (Draper et al., 2008). Their position in the healthcare industry makes the nurses a profound source of change initiatives that are targeted towards improving quality of care services. Therefore, the hospital maintains the ideal nurse to patient ratio in ensuring sufficient staffing. As a professional nurse, I play the role of mentoring new nurses and orienting them into the nursing practice. As such, the nurses perform effectively, and this has also proven effective in maintain the nursing staff.
While the nurses have potential in quality improvement, their efforts are usually met with a variety of challenges. For example, in advocacy, the nurses may feel threatened for ‘telling on’ the ills affecting a care facility that consequently affects the quality of care services. Some of the quality issues affecting care facilities stem from lack of adherence to guidelines by the leadership of the particular facility. As an employee, the nurse may feel indebted to be loyal to the employer, while at the same time experience the need to advocate for the needed changes, and this puts the nurse in a dilemma.
However, the hospitals can adopt developments do not inhibit the nurses from perpetrating their professional roles in quality improvement. Protection of nurses as whistleblowers is one way through which the role of the nurses in quality improvement can be changed. If nurses feel safe in reporting the issues affecting quality care without being victimized, then the nurses can carry out their advocacy roles effectively. Consequently, issues that inhibit quality improvement in healthcare can be effectively addressed and resolved.
Draper, D., Felland, L., Liebhaber, A. & Aelichar, L. (2008). The Role of the nurse in
hospital quality improvement. Health System Change, 3, 1-8.
Health Resources and Services Administration, HRSA. (2015). Quality improvement.
Retrieved January 14, 2015, from http://www.hrsa.gov/quality/toolbox/methodology/qualityimprovement/