Task 3: Portfolio Shell Creation
Quality and safety
Patient safety is inseparable from quality healthcare. This is because quality healthcare is correlated to better health outcomes for patients. Through hours of learning and training, I was able to identify some of the greatest threats to quality healthcare and by extension patient safety. They include lack of availability or poor quality of medicines, inadequate or unhygienic infrastructure and poor compliance to evidence-based clinical interventions and practices. They also include a lack of competent or motivated staff, and poor documentation and use of information (World Health Organization, 2019). During my training, I was also able to work with healthcare facilities with limited resources and a shortage of competent manpower. I noted that sub-standard quality healthcare increased the risk of hospital-acquired infections such as ventilator-associated pneumonia, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and urinary tract infections. This experience was important as it sensitized me to the importance of quality healthcare in ensuring patient safety.
My training as a baccalaureate prepared nurse has enabled me to recognize that nurses play a central role in the provision of quality and safe healthcare to patients. This is because compared to other healthcare professionals; nurses spend more time interacting with patients. In addition to this, I have also learned that ensuring quality of care and a healthcare safety culture is a concerted effort that requires the input of nurses and nurse leaders. Hospitals need to develop a culture that promotes quality healthcare and patient safety. In my practice in the future, I intend to promote the provision of quality, evidence-based healthcare in order to improve health outcomes and avoid undesirable situations such as hospital acquired infections.
Evidence-based practice is defined as an approach to clinical practice that integrates the best evidence from reliable studies, clinical expertise, and also a patient’s values and preferences when making decisions about a patient’s healthcare (Youngblut & Brooten, 2001). This approach to healthcare is essential as it provides useful insights into evidence-based methods in nearly all facets of healthcare delivery including direct patient care, infection control, supply management, workflow issues among others. Evidence-based practice is integral as it has the potential to improve the quality of care and health outcomes.
My training to become a baccalaureate prepared nurse has enabled me to appreciate the importance of evidence-based practice. For instance, evidence-based practice can cause healthcare professionals to alter or even abandon long-standing practices if evidence suggests that they may be defective or if a new methodology proves to be more effective and efficient. Unfortunately, during my practice, I was able to note that there are many existing obstacles to evidence-based practice. For instance, many professionals assert that while evidence-based practice is important, because of a heavy workload, they are not able to be updated on new evidence. In addition to this, many professionals lack the necessary skills in the area of literature researching and understanding evidence which is a hindrance towards evidence-based practice.
Fortunately, through effective leadership and management, hospitals can encourage evidence-based practice by providing nurses with the training and teaching necessary for grasping concepts and applying them in practical situations. Evidence-based practice is a valuable endeavor that hospitals ought to invest in in order to exploit new knowledge developments and to keep up with the latest technological advancements.
Leadership in nursing can be defined as the ability to motivate followers towards a specific goal (Al-Dossary, 2017). In healthcare, the goal is often to improve health outcomes for patients. One of the most important characteristics of a leader is the ability to communicate professionally and effectively with a team. In addition to this, the ability to harmonize and coordinate the efforts of persons with different expertise is also crucial for a leader to possess, especially in the healthcare field (Reeves & Lewin, 2004). As part of my course work, I was able to work with an interdisciplinary team which played a great role in enhancing my leadership skills. This learning experience enabled me to learn the value and importance of interprofessional collaboration in the delivery of quality care.
As a professional nurse graduate, I intend to utilize the knowledge and experience that I have gathered over this course to provide quality healthcare and improve health outcomes. I also intend to consolidate the experienced I gathered during my clinical rotation with the insight gained during the BSN program in order to be a competent professional. I will do my best to ensure that each patient receives the best quality healthcare available and if entrusted with a position of leadership, I intend to be a servant leader guided by ethics and professionalism.
Community and population health
The Community and Population Health course that was offered in my BSN program at Western Governors University was by far the most insightful and educative one. This is because the program put me in a position to interact with members of various communities. Working with different communities was a great learning experience as the opportunity exposed me to unique health problems which nurses are expected to develop interventions to improve health outcomes. This often involved the identification of causative factors of health disorders in the communities as well as preventative measures.
Some of the health issues I found to be most prevalent in the communities I worked in included lifestyle diseases such as obesity and other related health disorders. This was a reflection of a national health risk as one in seven youths in America is said to be obese (State of Childhood Obesity, 2019). I was able to research on this particular issue extensively through analyzing publicly available resources and interviewing community members in order to gain a complete scope of the extent of the issues. I was able to note that communities that had the highest health risk of obesity were predominantly members of poor minority communities. This is because economic hardship made it difficult to afford healthier food options causing an overreliance on fast foods to meet nutritional requirements. By working with different partners, we were able to develop meal plans for healthier food options based on recommendations from choosemyplate.gov (USDA, 2019). Afterschool programs were also recommended in the communities where obesity was more predominant as a way of enhancing exercise.
The course was insightful as it taught me the importance of research and evidence-based practice in tackling health issues in the community. This is important as there are various neglected health issues facing many communities across the country such as depression, cardiovascular disorders, and sexually transmitted infections. This course was able to equip students with the necessary skillset to become problem-solvers in our respective communities and to make Americans healthier than ever. I intend to utilize the knowledge gained in this course to help improve lifestyles and by extension health outcomes.
Al-Dossary, R. N. (2017). Leadership in Nursing. Retrieved from https://www.intechopen.com/books/contemporary-leadership-challenges/leadership-in-nursing
Reeves, S., & Lewin, S. (2004). Interprofessional collaboration in the hospital: strategies and meanings. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 9(4), 218-225.
State of Childhood Obesity. (2019). Building a healthier future. Retrieved from https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-8a0tKwazv5FjwYDe2vZW1UCSba2DVD7_LEmc3owoBxx37O1KPnL-hoC1MoQAvD_BwE
USDA. (2019). ChooseMyPlate. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
World Health Organization. (2019). What is quality of care and why is it important? Retrieved from https://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/topics/quality-of-care/definition/en/
Youngblut, J. M., & Brooten, D. (2001). Evidence-based nursing practice: why is it important?. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 12(4),