The critical role of nurses to the successful implementation of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery/Clinical Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre
The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards requires health service compliance by 2013 and covers several areas including governance arrangements, partnerships with consumers and eight key clinical processes. Nurses in Australia comprise 62% of the hospital workforce, are the largest component and hence play a critical role in meeting these standards and improving the quality of patient care. Several of the standards are influenced by nursing interventions, which incorporate any direct-care treatment that the nurse performs for a patient that may be nurse or physician initiated. The ability for nurses to undertake these interventions is influenced by the hours of care available, the skill mix of the nursing workforce and the environment in which they practice. Taking into consideration the predicted nursing shortages, the challenge to successfully implement the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards will be great. This paper examines the role of nursing in the delivery of the National Standards, analyses the evidence with regard to nursing-sensitive outcomes and discusses the implications for health service decision makers and policy.