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Nurs Adm Q. 2012 Jul-Sep;36(3):225-33. doi: 10.1097/NAQ.0b013e31825afb3c.

Bringing back the basics of nursing: defining patient care essentials.

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College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA.


Nursing leadership involves creating and sustaining a professional environment where nurses can perform at the highest levels of their preparation and expertise. As the work of nursing becomes increasingly more complex and significantly more technical in nature, nurses are beginning to find that the basic nursing interventions that were once the hallmark of good nursing care are being left behind. The purpose of this article is to describe an initiative to develop a clearly defined set of consensus-driven expectations about those essential, foundational elements of nursing care that nurses strive for and which we wanted to be universal within our organization, no matter where the patient receives care. The leadership challenge was to convey expectations that encompass both the tasks of nursing care and the compassionate environment in which the care is delivered. Adding to the complexity of this goal was the recognition that we would be much more successful in meeting these standards consistently if the expectations were grounded in the experience of direct care nurses, explicitly described and intentionally specified. This article describes the various phases of this initiative and includes the resulting "Patient Care Essentials" document.

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