National Voluntary Consensus Standards for Nursing-Sensitive Care: An Initial Performance Measure Set
Publication Date: January 2004
Publisher(s): National Quality Forum
Author(s): National Quality Forum
Nurses are the main frontline caregivers in the U.S. healthcare system and are both the largest healthcare profession and the largest operational expense. While nursing as an organized service and nurses as individual caregivers are critical to the performance of the healthcare system and individual patients' healthcare experiences, little attention has been directed toward developing nursing care performance measures. The National Quality Forum (NQF) has released a report on nursing quality that details 15 endorsed national voluntary consensus standards for nursing-sensitive care. This is the first set of nationally standardized performance measures that assesses the extent to which nursing personnel in acute care hospitals contribute to healthcare quality, patient safety and a professional and safe work environment. These standards consist of a collection of patient outcomes, nursing interventions and system-level indicators. They provide guidance for consumers to assess quality, providers to identify areas for continuous improvement and purchasers to reward hospitals that have higher performing nursing services. The report concludes that while endorsement of these consensus standards is a step forward in improving healthcare quality, there are still significant gaps in scientific evidence and research for investigators, measure developers and performance measurement organizations to address. The full report may be accessed at the link below.