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There’s more disappointing news regarding the involvement of nurses in hospital quality improvement projects. A study in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality compared the level of involvement of two groups of nurses – one in 2008/2009 and one in 2010/2011 – and found that virtually no progress had been made.
The survey, which included respondents from 15 states, measured involvement in 14 quality improvement activities, including “items relating to: QI education and work participation, demographics, work setting, unit type, job title, and Magnet hospital status,” according to the study.
Its conclusion? “Except for QI practices specific to reducing nosocomial infection rates through the use of hand washing, no significant differences were noted between the two cohorts.”
I wish I could say I'm surprised. I’m not discouraged, though. The issue’s getting more attention now, and I think more hospitals are waking up to the fact that nurses have a lot to offer when it comes to improving quality. For many of these forward-thinking facilities, the question now is how to foster nurses’ participation more effectively.
Fortunately, there are resources available. According to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation article on the study, “The research team cited several promising programs for engaging staff RNs in QI activities, including the Integrated Nurse Leadership Program in California, and the Bi-State Nursing Workforce Innovation Center’s Clinical Scene Investigator Academy in Kansas and Missouri.” They also recommended giving RNs access to “self-directed online modules to learn about QI” and “ensuring RNs have access to an information technology infrastructure that provides meaningful, timely and actionable QI data,” according to RWJF.
Sounds good to me. Let’s just hope that next time a study like this is conducted, we’ll begin to see some real results.