- What significance does joining a professional organization have on nursing practice?
- How can nurses contribute to legislative changes that impact nursing practice and patient outcomes?
- Why is evidence-based practice (EBP) the gold standard in patient care protocol improvements?
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA) there are currently 3.6 million registered nurses in the United States (American Nurses Association [ANA], n.d.b, para 12). The ANA is a professional nursing organization, which began when fewer than 20 nurses attended a convention in 1896. Nurses at the time were concerned with nursing practice standards and nurse competency. The ANA has since grown into an organization with interests in improving health care and setting standards for nursing practice. All nurses are represented regardless of status within the organization. The goal of professional organizations is to support nurses and improve the profession (ANA, n.d.c).
This chapter will explore the significance of joining professional organizations and how nursing can contribute to legislative changes that may affect patient outcomes as well as the work environment of the nurse. Professional nursing organizations are responsible for the development and certification of nurses interested in improving health care and providing safe quality nursing care. Through participation in professional organizations, nurses can actively contribute to legislative changes that can affect patient care and the way they conduct their work. Nurses are continually looking for and exploring new ways to provide patients with quality care. Nurses perform studies looking for new and innovative ways to provide care. The use of evidence-based practices (EBP)has become the gold standard for providing safe, quality care to patients.
Standards applied to nursing care include:
- ANA’s Standards of Practice
- The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs)
- Structured communication tools
- Integrated health care priorities
- Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN)
- Social determinants of health
- Cultural competence
- Healthcare and Research Quality Act of 1999
Standards of Nursing Practice
Standards of practice are rules and regulations that guide the nursing practice. The Nurse Practice Actis a law in each state regulating nursing practice. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), founded in 1978, requires the licensed registered nurse (RN) to have specialized knowledge, skill, and independence in decision making. Originally, the NCSBN was part of the American Nurses Association Council of the State Boards of Nursing. The NCSBN was created to protect the public from incompetent or unlicensed health care personnel. “The NCSBN has the responsibility of providing regulatory excellence for public health, safety and welfare, and protecting the public by ensuring that safe and competent nursing care is provided by licensed nurses” (National Council for State Boards of Nursing [NCSBN], n.d.a, para. 1).
Information about licensure is available from each state’s board of nursing as well as from Nursys. Nursys “is the only national database for verification of nurse licensure, discipline and practice privileges for RNs and LPN/VNs licensed in participating boards of nursing, including all states in the Nurse Licensure Compact” (Nursys.com, n.d., para 1).
ANA’s Standards of Practice
In addition to the rules and regulations that govern nursing practice, the ANA wrote the Standards of Practice, which are used along with the state Nurse Practice Act to guide safe practice. It is important for the RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to be aware of the rules and regulations that govern nursing. The standards of practice describe a competent level of nursing practice demonstrated by the critical-thinking model known as the nursing process (Bickford, Marion, & Gazaway, 2015).
National Patient Safety Goals
The National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) were established in 2002. The purpose of the NPSGs was to address concerns about patient safety raised by a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM is a Quality Health Care in America committee, which is a division of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
To Err Is Human
The report, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 1999) was a result of two major research studies that found that approximately 98,000 people died each year from medical errors (see Table 5.1). The IOM discovered that these patient deaths were not a result of individual errors, but from a decentralized and fragmented health care system. “Among the problems that commonly occur during the course of providing health care are adverse drug events and improper transfusions, surgical injuries and wrong-site surgery, suicides, restraint-related injuries or death, falls, burns, pressure ulcers, and mistaken patient identities” (IOM, 1999, p. 1). The IOM also found that many of these errors occurred in areas such as operating rooms, intensive care units, and emergency rooms (IOM, 1999)
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