The quality improvement leader serves as an associate of the corporate quality team and is charged with assisting with quality assurance, enhancing quality as well as regulatory compliance (Stevens, 2013). The QI leader provides a wide range of quality-related nursing services such as training, evaluation, risk management, and compliance. In addition to this, the QI leader works together with and provides support to nursing staff with an aim to improving the quality of nursing services (McLaughlin & Kaluzny, 2006).
Among the policies that they work on include developing organization policies that impact nursing and other areas of healthcare, conducting data analysis with an aim to establishing potential areas of improvement, and developing educational programs and other materials for learning. In addition to this, I learned that at times the QI leader is assigned with projects related to assessment, development, and implementation of changes within the nursing systems. Overall, all projects that the QI leader works on focuses on improving efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare administration at the health organization (Stevens, 2013).
During service delivery, the rapid cycle change is the most used performance improvement model at the organization (McLaughlin & Kaluzny, 2006). From the interview, it was important to note that the QI leader uses this model to implement short-cycle small changes that are linked together and that collectively lead to an improvement. A notable benefit of this model is the fact that it allows implementation of low-risk tests of change in a way that is possible to determine if these changes are improvements (Lighter, 2011). Additionally, since it involves front line staff, this model promotes staff engagement in quality improvement. The lean thinking approach is also used within the organization especially in areas where the institution intends to minimize healthcare costs. Through application of tools such as the 5S, the approach has been crucial when identifying challenges in current systems and streamlining processes within departments. This approach has been most useful at the department level than on the mainstream clinical setting (Stevens, 2013).
There are several regulatory agencies that impact the position of a QI leader key among them being the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ). This agency finances research on the various aspects of healthcare with an aim to providing adequate evidence-based literature on healthcare outcomes. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulates the quality of care provided by healthcare institutions and as such has a direct impact on the QI leader. The Department of Justice also impacts the position of a QI leader more so considering that all actions and practices by the QI leader must abide by federal laws (Lighter, 2011).
In the context of identifying best practice benchmarks, documentary search is used to identify and define the magnitude of both the denominator and the numerator when assessing best practice benchmarks. The first step when using this source is defining concepts and models within benchmarking. This is then followed by defining the denominator and the numerator of a given benchmarking. Caution is taken at this point to ensure that performance is neither underestimated nor overestimated (Stevens, 2013).
In the role of a QI leader, evidence-based practice aims at closing the gap between practice and clinical research. Considering that routine practice in most cases fails to incorporate research on time and in a relatively reliable manner, QI in healthcare aims at facilitating this challenge. To improve both patient outcomes and healthcare practice, evidence-based quality practice is utilized within the specialty of quality improvement to by integrating the practitioner’s knowledge and skills, the patient’s needs and preferences, and the best available literature on healthcare (Stevens, 2013). Despite its significance, evidence-based practice faces several challenges within this specialty as some health professionals regard it to constrain their freedom. Equally, lack of adequate resources and training can also limit its applicability.
In summary, the quality improvement nursing leader serves as an associate of the corporate quality team and is charged with assisting with quality assurance, enhancing quality as well as regulatory compliance (Stevens, 2013). Their roles includes and not limited to a wide range of quality-related nursing services such as training, evaluation, risk management, and compliance, and as well as providing support to nursing staff with the overall aim of providing quality, safe, evidence- based, patient centered, and affordable nursing care (McLaughlin & Kaluzny, 2006).
Lighter, D. E. (2011). Advanced performance improvement in health care: Principles and methods. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
McLaughlin, C. P., & Kaluzny, A. D. (2006). Continuous quality improvement in health care. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett.
Stevens, K. (2013). The Impact of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and the Next Big Ideas. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(2): Manuscript 4.