Putting Quality First
When it comes to quantitative issues in health care, there is no shortage of statistics, polls, rates, or dates. Qualitative issues, however, are another story. While quality of care is of upmost importance, its evaluation and promotion are not so simple.
Thanks to The George Washington University’s Department of Nursing Education (DNE), the fight for quality care is about to get easier — or at least more organized. Through a recent grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the DNE launched the Nursing Alliance for Quality Care (NAQC), a collaboration of the nation’s most prestigious nursing organizations that will give voice to the profession of nursing and bolster safe and effective care for patients.
“The role of nursing in health care quality improvement has always been critically important. It is even more important now as improving the quality and value of patient care takes center stage,” says Michael W. Painter, J.D., M.D., senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “NAQC will help create a durable collaboration among nurses, patients, and other health care stakeholders that will help us all improve care.”
NAQC will work to ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time; that nurses actively advocate and are accountable for consumer-centered, high-quality health care; and that policymakers recognize the contributions of nurses in advancing high-quality health care for patients.
And who better than GW to spearhead this agenda? According to Jean Johnson, Ph.D., F.A.A.N., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Programs, no one.
“The Department of Nursing Education is particularly well situated to lead NAQC because of our commitment to improving nursing care at the bedside through research and education,” she says. “We are also a neutral party located in D.C., which will help us achieve our aim of bringing nursing’s view to policy decisions centering on quality of care.”
Johnson will serve as co-principal investigator of NAQC, along with Ellen M. Dawson, Ph.D., A.N.P., chair of the Department of Nursing Education. Jan Bull, program director of Health Care Sciences, will serve as the alliance’s administrative director.
“In the era of health care reform, recognizing the critical role of nurses in quality care is imperative,” says John F. Williams, M.D., Ed.D., M.P.H., provost and vice president for Health Affairs at the GW Medical Center. “This alliance will bring patient needs to the forefront of health care.”