Measures and indicators of quality care—such as the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, and those developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality—inform consumers, practitioners and policy-makers about the quality of patient care. Other measures, such as those developed by the National Quality Forum, define quality by using nurse-sensitive patient outcomes. But even these measures do not capture some important aspects of quality nursing care in hospitals.
In order to inform more nursing-specific indicators of quality, researchers asked early-career (less than four years experience) registered nurses (RNs) what they thought constituted high-quality nursing. Three themes emerged as integral to quality nursing care:
Quality indicators need to include process measures in order to reflect the complexity of bedside nursing care.