In November 2004, the National Quality Forum endorsed national voluntary consensus standards for nursing-sensitive care. The consensus standards enable assessment of the extent to which nurses in acute care hospitals contribute to health care quality, patient safety, and a professional and safe work environment. The project team also identified priority areas for research.
The National Quality Forum's 15 national voluntary consensus standards for nursing-sensitive care (on patient outcomes, nursing interventions and system-level measures) are the first national, standardized, and consensus-based performance measures for nursing care. The consensus standards enable consumers to assess the quality of nursing care in hospitals and providers to identify critical outcomes and processes of care for continuous improvement. Purchasers can use the consensus standards to reward hospitals for better performance.