Nursing quality improvement (QI) is hard.

Improving your own and your team’s practice is hard.

It takes a lot of effort to change things for the better.

The resources that are required are immense.

And the time it takes can make it even harder to keep up enthusiasm.

Nurses know that there are gaps between recommendations that are evidence-based and what actually happens in the field.

A paper about boosting nursing QI describes the laborious process that was involved in reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).

The nurse champions 

would print a paper checklist, complete an observation of a patient with an IUC (indwelling urinary catheter), and then fax their checklist to an administrative assistant. The data would be entered into a spreadsheet. A graph was then created for each unit and e-mailed back to the nurse champions for sharing with their teams.”

Despite the barriers of this method of manual data collection, transfer and dissemination, nurses achieved a 56% reduction in CAUTI over 2 years.

The benefits of using modern IT to streamline and hasten the process is obvious.

But then again the process of working through the labyrinth of hospital procedures is also time consuming.

So these nurse champions used a cloud-based technology that replaced the paper-heavy process.

This change in recording and reviewing data provided real-time feedback on compliance with prevention guidelines.

There was no change to the instrument that was used to record the physical observation.

The time it took to share data decreased from 4 days or more to 1 hour or less.

The almost real-time feedback loop led to greater satisfaction from the nurses involved.

A simplifying of the process of improving the quality of care was crucial in changing nurse’s commitment to change their practice.

Cloud-based systems allow for far larger numbers of these types of studies to occur not only in local centres but also across larger geographic areas.

Nurses know how to work together to get things done and this paper points the way to large-scale cooperation in improving patient care.

And everyone will be the better for it when nurses make a difference.

To learn more about nurses making a difference,

Rea, Kathleen, Uyen Le-Jenkins, and Carolyn Rutledge. “A Technology Intervention for Nurses Engaged in Preventing Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections.” Computers, informatics, nursing: CIN (2018).