Quality nursing care in the words of nurses

Authors

  • Linda Maas Burhans,

    1. Linda Maas Burhans PhD RN CPHQ,Associate Executive Director of Education and Practice,North Carolina Board of Nursing and Adjunct Faculty, East Carolina University College of Nursing, Wilson, NC, USA
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  • Martha Raile Alligood

    1. Martha Raile Alligood PhD RN ANEF,Professor and Director of PhD Program,East Carolina University College of Nursing, Greenville, NC, USA
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L.M. Burhans: e-mail: linda.burhans@gmail.com

Abstract

burhans l.m. & alligood m.r. (2010) Quality nursing care in the words of nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(8), 1689–1697.

Abstract

Title. Quality nursing care in the words of nurses.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the meaning of quality nursing care for practising nurses.

Background.  Healthcare quality continues to be a subject of intense criticism and debate. Although quality nursing care is vital to patient outcomes and safety, meaningful improvements have been disturbingly slow. Analysis of quality care literature reveals that practising nurses are rarely involved in developing or defining improvement programs for quality nursing care. Therefore, two major study premises were that quality nursing care must be meaningful and relevant to nurses and that uncovering their meaning of quality nursing care could facilitate more effective improvement approaches.

Method.  Using van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenology, meaning was revealed through analysis of interviews to answer the research question ‘What is the lived meaning of quality nursing care for practising nurses?’ Twelve nurses practising on medical or surgical adult units at general or intermediate levels of care within acute care hospitals in the United States of America were interviewed. Emerging themes were discovered through empirical and reflective analysis of audiotapes and transcripts. The data were collected in 2008.

Findings.  The revealed lived meaning of quality nursing care for practising nurses was meeting human needs through caring, empathetic, respectful interactions within which responsibility, intentionality and advocacy form an essential, integral foundation.

Conclusion.  Nurse managers could develop strategies that support nurses better in identifying and delivering quality nursing care reflective of responsibility, caring, intentionality, empathy, respect and advocacy. Nurse educators could modify education curricula to model and teach students the intrinsic qualities identified within these meanings of quality nursing care.

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