"Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back."
– Florence Nightingale, 1914
Nurses are the heart of health care, and as with the human heart, monitoring the pulse of nursing culture within an organization is essential for ensuring its ability to function optimally.
“When nurses are engaged in the mission to deliver patient- and family-centered care—when they are aligned with the goals of the organization and feel as if they are valued contributors to the decision-making process—their job satisfaction rises, nursing retention rates increase and, importantly, patient outcomes improve,” said Christina Dempsey, Press Ganey chief nursing officer.
Building and sustaining a culture that fosters nursing excellence is essential for organizations striving to deliver truly patient-centered health care while meeting the evolving cost and quality mandates of health care reform. Doing so takes dedication, commitment, teamwork and vigilance. And it can only be achieved, as Florence Nightingale clearly knew, through continuous assessment of progress and the ability act quickly to address impediments to progress.
Such watchfulness is second nature to nurses. It is what they do every day: They pay attention to the details, make observations and look for important signals and cues on which to base decisions to best care for their patients. And they remain ever-ready to act appropriately and efficiently to minimize risks and respond to threats.
Because vigilance is the backdrop against which nurses practice, their insight into the quality of the resources, relationships, leadership and opportunities that define the culture in which they work should guide the development of nurse-engagement strategies.
Who better to lead the charge to promote nursing excellence than nurses themselves?
Today, as National Nurses Week 2014 kicks off, “We honor and celebrate nurses for the many ways in which they make their voices heard to improve the lives of the patients in their care,” Dempsey said.