Hospitals should heed nurses' perceptions on quality

Nurses are good barometers of care quality, according to a new University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing study that found nurse-reported quality accurately matched outcome measures, including death and life-threatening post-surgical complications.

After looking at 16,000 nurses in nearly 400 hospitals in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, researchers concluded that patient-provider interactions, technology, and patient and family education give nurses a complete picture of hospital performance.

"Their assessments of quality are built on more than an isolated encounter or single process--they are developed over time through a series of interactions and direct observations of care," lead author Matthew D. McHugh, a public health policy expert at Penn Nursing, said today in a statement.

Hospitals should heed nurses' "unique perspective within the caregiving context" as healthcare quality measures become increasingly important to medical and regulatory decision-making, the study noted.

However, a study last month suggested physicians and nurses may give themselves higher marks than they deserve for care quality for hospital patients prior to a serious complication. Dutch researchers found a disconnect between the quality of care found by independent experts and the quality of care providers thought they delivered, according to the study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine.

To boost quality of care at nursing facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last month announced new partnerships with nursing programs that would fund care transition improvements and leverage technology for Medicare-Medicaid enrollees.

To learn more:
- read the research announcement
- check out the study abstract