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Guarding the Nursing Profession

What Will YOU Do to Improve Nursing Care?

Published August 26, 2013 12:21 PM by Colleen Villamin

In response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nursing leaders must discover innovative, cost-effective ways to deliver higher quality, safer nursing care to the aging American public.

Information technology and recent advances in medicine provide consumers with the ability to actively participate in their care, live longer lives with multiple chronic conditions, and make informed health care decisions according to publicized outcome data. The modern patient has a significant voice compared to the paternalistic health care system our grandparents once knew. In light of the cultural shift in today's health care system, there is growing interest in quality improvement at the point of care.

Hospitals provide nursing care to patients of increasing complexity and shorter lengths of stay. Much of health care is delivered in the outpatient setting in response to increasing costs. Therefore, inpatient nursing staff must provide high acuity care to complex patients, keep abreast of latest advances in technology, and educate patients and families on how to continue care upon discharge. The demands on nursing staff to provide high quality, safe, effective care for increasingly complex patients in hospitals that face decreased federal reimbursement requires attention. To avoid a perfect storm, hospital microsystems must be assessed for gaps in care that lead to poor patient outcomes.

Much focus in quality improvement centers on errors of commission, yet the extent of errors of omission remains unclear. Recent nursing research by Kalisch and colleagues focuses on elements of and reasons for omitted nursing care. Few studies clearly define the impact of missed nursing care on patient outcomes.  

When you have a busy 12 hour shift and no nursing assistant, what will you leave out? Will you get everything done and finally chart once night shift arrives? Will you remember everything that happened? Do you feel guilty for not being able to accomplish all of your objectives that day? Are you exhausted? Did your patients get the best possible care?  

We have all had days like these.... Our generation will be faced with improving nursing care with a tighter budget, more elderly patients than nurses to go around, and increasing acuity in hospitals. What can each of us do to help? We are all responsible to protect our patients and our great profession.


posted by Colleen Villamin


Colleen, what a wonderful blog.  It reminds me of an inspirational quote from Michael Donner, founder of Barco’s Nightingales Foundation, a foundation dedicated to nurses and the nursing profession, “We can all learn so much from watching nurses in action. They are clinical professionals who care for the complete patient 24/7. They also bring a courageous heart to help patients and their families deal and best live with their medical outcome.”  We invite all nurses to join us as we continue to celebrate nurses and the profession of nursing.  Like and learn more at

Phyllis Grabot August 30, 2013 10:22 AM

I agree. Nursing can be physically, mentally, & emotionally challenging. There is a great need for providing more support to nurses. I have seen tranquility rooms, TLC carts offering drinks & snacks, and appreciation lunches. The best idea I have experienced was Tea & TLC, where leadership provided a room with relaxing music, aromatherapy, scented hand lotion, massage chairs, tea, and pastries. It provided 15-20 minutes away from the floor for nurses to relax, vent, & chat. It was very rejuvenating! What other ideas are out there?

Colleen, Oncology - Clinical Resource Nurse August 28, 2013 9:41 AM
Houston TX

Hi Colleen Villamin%0d%0aNursing is an emotionally challenging job. Giving nurses systematic support would enhance the experience for all nurses. Need to focus on developing nursing leadership and support for nurses.

Nursing postgraduate courses August 28, 2013 7:30 AM

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