Nurse practitioners (NPs) must use their competencies to develop superior care delivery models and offer evidence-based, timely, safe, and equitable health services to their patients. They should go further to identify, innovate, and develop powerful procedures that can contribute to continuous quality improvement (QI) initiatives. This paper synthesizes and presents various ways that nurses can meet such QI objectives.
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Quality Improvement Initiatives
Certain factors such as unsustainable medical costs, access problems, and disparities continue to drive transformation in healthcare. Nurses can embrace various initiatives to meet every QI initiative. The first strategy is for nurses to become part of interprofessional teams that can deliver affordable, quality, seamless, and personalized care to different patients (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). Salmond and Echevarria (2017) encourage nurses to develop standardized care protocols since every disease produces similar symptoms in patients. This strategy can ensure that more nurses use evidence-based practices and uniform procedures to deliver effective, consistent, and quality patient care.
NPs can also assume a wide range of leadership roles and compel departmental managers to meet their needs. By so doing, these practitioners will liaise with their leaders to address emerging obstacles and influence clinical outcomes positively. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report of 2010 also presents timely recommendations that can empower nurses to become part of the QI agenda. For instance, nurses can practice by their competencies and education attainment (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). They can prescribe drugs, diagnose specific conditions, and formulate adequate care delivery models. Additionally, NPs can engage in lifelong learning to acquire new concepts, undertake numerous researches, and formulate superior models that can improve the quality of medical services available to different patients.
The concept of leadership can empower nurses to become competent or full partners in healthcare delivery. The move can result in an advanced healthcare sector whereby nurses are ready to support every QI initiative. They will also embrace evidence-based practices such as communication, critical thinking, and decision-making. Practitioners can also use their competencies and numbers to formulate policies that can minimize sentinel events (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). These practices will empower them to deliver safe and efficient health services to every underserved population. The use of modern health technology can also empower nurses to offer timely, fast, and quality medical care.
Obstacles Faced by Nurses
Nurses have been grappling with numerous challenges that make it hard for them to achieve their potential. To begin with, nurses’ scope of practice is hindered by state laws, clinical guidelines, and regulations. For instance, nurses might be educated but unable to prescribe certain medications or diagnose specific conditions (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, n. d.). This issue affects every practitioner’s morale. NPs are also forced to work for long hours due to the current problem of the nursing shortage.
The third obstacle is that of discrimination. Nurses are discriminated against by other professionals such as physicians and psychotherapists. The issue of compensation is another challenge that forces competent nurses to pursue other objectives in life. Workplace violence also affects the performance of many nurses (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2008). They also work in hazardous conditions that make it hard for them to achieve their goals.
This discussion reveals that nurses can use their competencies to transform the quality of services available to more patients. Unfortunately, they are forced to deal with numerous challenges such as long working hours, staff shortage, uncompetitive salaries, and discrimination. These obstacles should, therefore, be addressed immediately if nurses are to become full partners in every QI initiative.
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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2008). Advances in patient safety: New directions and alternative approaches (08-0034-CD). Web.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (n. d.). Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses. Web.
Salmond, S. W., & Echevarria, M. (2017). Healthcare transformation and changing roles of nursing. Orthopedic Nursing, 36(1), 12-25. Web.
Sollecito, W. A., & Johnson, J. K. (2013). Continuous quality improvement in health care (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.