Nurses can share ideas, discuss issues, and learn on the Nursing Quality Network
RNs have an effective way to reach into cyberspace to share their best practices, puzzle out a problem, and learn about quality issues and activities: the Nursing Quality Network™, a program of the American Nurses Association (ANA).
The network specifically is offered through ANA’s National Center for Nursing Quality® (NCNQ®) to staff nurses, quality specialists, nurse managers, and others whose health care facility participates in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI®).
The database collects and calculates unit-specific, nurse-sensitive data — such as incidences of patient falls and pressure ulcers, pain assessment, staff mix, and nurse turnover — from NDNQI participating hospitals. It then provides to those facilities unit-level comparative reports from similar types of hospitals to use for quality improvement initiatives. Hospitals also can opt in to the Nursing Quality Network for a flat fee, which then allows all nurses to access it for free (www.nursingqualitynetwork.org).
“There continues to be an increased emphasis on quality these days brought on by consumer demand, changing policies on reimbursement, and heath care reform law and national reports that recognize nurses as an integral part of the health care team,” said Deitra Wynn Scott, MSN, RN, education program specialist for NCNQ. “Having access to the Nursing Quality Network gives nurses the opportunity to discuss quality issues and models of care on an ongoing basis.”
Touring the network
Nurses new to the network must log in and create a profile, in which they can note their special interests and any special communities they’d like to be a part of – such as staff nurse or quality specialist groups.
The comprehensive and well-organized network site is itself divided into sections called learn, connect, and empower. Under “learn,” nurses can take advantage of several types of free educational strategies, such as webinars. Current offerings include translating evidence to practice; making NDNQI data understandable and actionable at the bedside; best practices in falls reduction; and the dollars and sense of reducing pressure ulcers. Nurses also are awarded continuing education contact hours for their participation. (ANA members can view the webinars at a reduced cost.)
Another learning strategy is the network forums. These are teleconference-based discussions that bring together nurse leaders from hospitals around the country to learn how colleagues successfully addressed quality issues. Past teleconferences, which can still be downloaded, include topics on delirium, patient outcomes and nursing practice; nurses as key to the success of new accountable care organizations; and reading and critiquing a research article.
The third learning strategy are learning voyages, in which four to 10 staff members form a team at their hospital to take on a quality improvement project over the course of several months. As part of the voyage, they engage in network activities, as well as report their project outcomes to the entire network community. One recent project focused on how the team successfully initiated a falls prevention program in its facility.
Under the “connect” component of the network, nurses can post ideas, share information and research, and get feedback on the issues they face every day in their practice from their colleagues around the country who also participate in the network through blogging or specific discussion groups. They can also share files, including research articles, and view announcements.
The “empower” section gives nurses access to continuing education modules and nursing quality libraries. There also is a daily features section, in which nurses can electronically receive chapters of books and other key resources relevant to their practice.
“Nurses need to be a big part of quality improvement, and our goal with the network is to give them the resources and the forum to make that happen,” Scott said.
ANA research resources
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has other resources available to nurses to help them with research activities to improve the quality of patient care and other issues important to nurses.
One major resource is ANA’s research toolkit, which can help nurses in shaping health policy at the bedside, within an organization, and at the local, state and national levels. The toolkit has information ranging from defining a problem or asking a question to identifying funding opportunities. It can be found at: www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/Improving-Your-Practice/Research-Toolkit.
ANA also developed its research agenda, which recommends that nurses explore areas, such as the value of nursing contributions to safety, reliability, quality and efficiency, as well as nurse workforce issues, such as the effect of workplace stress on nurses.
The agenda and other key documents can be found at: www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/Improving-Your-Practice/Research-Toolkit.