by Meaghan O'Keeffe, RN, BSN
As the institution of healthcare continues to evolve, nurses across the country are being asked to change with it. It can be easy to lose focus on the larger picture, however, when faced with the day-to-day challenges on the job.
These five reports are an eye-opening look at the healthcare system in crisis, but most importantly, they offer the nursing profession inspiring, actionable plans for how to change it.
Each of these reports is a must-read. They’re engaging and provocative and will help you come to informed opinions about the state of healthcare and your role as a nurse. Consider choosing a report every other month to distribute to your co-workers and then hold semi-formal discussion sessions to explore the themes and how they relate to your experience as a nurse.
5 Must-Read Reports for Nurses
In this ground-breaking study, published by Vital Smarts and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses in 2005, seven areas where communication breakdown occurs in healthcare delivery were identified. They found that fewer than 10 percent of healthcare works speak up when they’ve observed medical errors, incompetency and other potential harmful behaviors. One of the more interesting findings of the study was that the few who do speak up in challenging circumstances have better patient outcomes and are more likely to stay in their jobs.
A follow-up to Silence Kills, The Silent Treatment takes a closer look at the many reasons why nurses fail to speak up during crucial moments in healthcare delivery and what identifies the characteristics shared by nurses who find the courage to say something when it counts.
Published in 2010, The Robert Johnson Wood Foundation, along with the Institute of Medicine, presented a call to action. In The Future of Nursing, the authors present data, and outline constructive ways, in which the nursing profession can become a leading voice in the revolution of the healthcare system.
4. AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments: A Journey To Excellence
The American Association of Critical Care Nurses published the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments: A Journey To Excellence in 2005. In it, they identify the factors necessary to create and sustain a work environment that empowers nurses to deliver the best care possible. As you read through it, critically think about which standards your institution or unit meet, and which might be areas for improvement.
The Insitute of Medicine recognizes the relationship between a healthy work environment for nurses and optimal patient care outcomes. In Keeping Patients Safe, the IOM provides recommendations that address adequate staffing, trust in organizations, and other “bundles of change” that will ensure an optimal environment for nurses to do the jobs required of them.