The goal during the first week of the course was to investigate the strategies to ensure quality and safety in health care. One of the primary objectives was to critique and propose the best quality measures to improve patient safety. Here, it was vital for me to employ the Mission Critical Competence (MC) 2 when appraising and selecting proven approaches to safe care. I also evaluated theory-based safety strategies, as directed in Domain Competencies (DC) 1.1-1.2. The examination of different theories allowed me to see the scope of nursing science on the topic of patient safety and how the application of this data can impact health care delivery.
Investigating such theory-based approaches as the System Evolution, Erosion, and Enhancement (SEEE) model, I understood that the dynamic nature of health systems should be acknowledged when implementing or evaluating change. Mistakes and incidents do not always occur due to one’s actions. Moreover, safety as a goal often competes with other objectives of innovation (performance, cost-efficiency, and others). Therefore, medical professionals have to shift their attention from finding “what went wrong” and “who was responsible” towards “what goes right.” As a result, this knowledge helped me practice empathy (MC5) and an ethical approach to safety improvement, while also using evidence-based practice findings (DC 5.3).
During the second week, I reviewed innovative strategies in health care, including the focus on sustainable change and various change theories. For example, I examined the difference between change and transition to comprehend better how health care can benefit from employing correct approaches to innovation. I saw that the psychological aspect of transition makes it balanced and effective, and that situational changes may be ineffective without the right mindset. Thus, an effective change theory challenges one’s doubts and ensures positive long-term effects. I aimed to appraise and implement different change theories to enhance the quality and sustainability of care delivery.
Furthermore, I examined the economic method of evaluating quality practice outcomes. The viewpoint of economic strategies is focused on the resources’ allocation and the efficiency of specific implementation approaches. While patients’ safety and the quality of care cannot be dismissed when developing an initiative, the financial side of all operations is also crucial to consider. The potential advantage of economic evaluation lies in its ability to show managers and people with decision-making authority the most beneficial implementation strategies. By evaluating the economic methodology, I learned about the principles of finance to develop effective plans for change and improve interprofessional collaboration (DC 2.1). I also contributed to achieving the MC2 since the economic view increased my knowledge of systems thinking.
The topic of the third week was to investigate the strategic planning and vision of the current health care system about its sustainability and ethical issues. The central ethical concerns include the financial view of different health insurance programs, competition in the field of health care, the Affordable Care Act outcomes, and health disparities. The issue of quality of care that is delivered to different populations is connected to all problems mentioned above, and healthcare professionals have to consider how to make healthcare provision consistent. During this week, I focused on population health, evaluating different opinions about the necessity of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and the results of implementing universal health insurance.
The problem of healthcare disparities affects whole populations based on reasons that some people often cannot control. The scientific data about these issues has to be used to develop interventions for population health. By reviewing the impact of ACOs improving consistent care, I understood the importance of social justice advocacy (DC 4.3) and equity (MC4) in healthcare. The vision of health care should move towards increased access and quality of care for all people without undermining the sustainability of its systems. I understood that using evidence-based data and developing a mindset sensitive to cultural and ethical differences is crucial to establishing the system of accountable care.
The assignments of the fourth week examined the state of health care delivery in more detail, paying attention to the different health care systems across the world. During this week, I evaluated the role of advanced practice nurses in designing and influencing health care policy. The roles of nurses are significant in influencing the direction of health care innovation. Thus, nurses have a responsibility to continuously revise their understanding of the current practice and aim to improve the results of care. Furthermore, I analyzed the quality of care in various delivery approaches – the current US system and the system of countries with universal health care. After reviewing the healthcare delivery ways in different countries, I was able to use this knowledge (DC 1.1-1.5) to determine that the US has some issues with quality outcomes related to the present system of care.
I also investigated the economic side of the question, comparing the costs of care in the US and other states. Nurses practicing in the US have to consider this knowledge to locate problems in the local provision of care and introduce programs and policies that are both cost-effective and useful to patients. While examining these ideas, I was able to exercise my appraisal skills for quality management and patient outcomes monitoring (DC 3.4, 5.1).
The topic of Week 5 was centered on population health, including such activities as program planning, development, and evaluation. Here, I used my knowledge and data evaluation skills to assess different models used to measure quality outcomes. Moreover, I analyzed theories to bring effective change to the health of communities. This week’s investigation allowed me to enhance my previously developed competencies of critical thinking and population management (MC2, DC 4.1-4.4). I compared the quality measures that I reviewed previously to the national efforts to improve population health. I studied the intersectionality theory that focuses on different aspects of people’s identity to show how a sum of characteristics (socioeconomic, class, race, gender, and other categories) creates new barriers for people.
Thus, I improved my skills in developing and implementing ethical and sensitive approaches to care (MC4, DC 4.3-4.5). The issue of health disparity and the lack of equity cannot be solved without using analytic foundations and evidence-based practice (DC 1.1-1.4, 5.1-5.4). Finally, the need for interprofessional collaboration (DC 2.2-2.4) and leadership skills (MC3) is also apparent since changes in population health require a joint effort. Thus, as a Nurse, I should strive to improve population health through systemic change and transformative action with long-term sustainable results.
During the sixth week, I examined my role as a practicing scholar in developing and maintaining a culture of excellence. The topic also focused on using my consultative skills as an advanced practice nurse. The concept of excellence is multifaceted, and its measurements strategies for quality outcomes have to be understood by all nurses and other medical professionals. For that reason, nursing leaders have to apply their communicative and reasoning skills to connect with other members. The assignment for that week was rooted in utilizing implementation and evaluation strategies and assessing the impact that collaboration can have on the quality of patient care. Teamwork in health care has a substantial influence on the experiences that both professionals and patients have in the hospital.
Patient-centered strategies that encourage professionals to work together, share knowledge and experience, and teach each other are beneficial for transforming the practice setting. The lack of communication among medical professionals can lead to errors, conflicts, and low quality of care. I perfected my skills as a collaborator (MC3), consultant (MC1), and leader (DC 2.1-2.4) and practiced various strategies of bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practice (DC 5.4-5.5). Thus, the assignments of the week helped me understand why interprofessional teamwork and the ability to demonstrate leadership characteristics are crucial to health care improvement.
The topic under investigation was patients’ health care literacy and various patient-centered care models. Patient-centered care strategies are based on the belief that patients’ opinions should be acknowledged in the process of health care provision. Thus, patients do not simply receive treatment and advice from nurses – they actively take part in their healing process, choosing possible approaches, or managing certain aspects of care. To encourage patient autonomy and participation, nurses have to use specific models of care to ensure effective communication and patient awareness. Analyzing different models of care, I was able to employ my literature assessment skills (DC 5.1-5.5).
The problem that arises in patient-centered models is health literacy. To make decisions, patients have to be informed about the benefits and drawbacks of their choices as well as the potential risks and outcomes of exercising their autonomy. I reviewed various health literacy assessment tools that help overcome these issues and determine patients’ degree of understanding. I also examined a concern of disparity among patients’ health literacy levels. It may arise when patient learning techniques do not consider individual and group differences of people and barriers to education. For instance, some people’s reading level may be too low for them to understand advanced instructions or explanations by a nurse. Thus, I considered appropriate ways of determining health literacy and improving it by acknowledging disparities (MC4, DC 4.3).
The final week’s objectives were to evaluate health care outcomes. I analyzed the best available evidence for practice innovation and determined, which means for translating research into practice and disseminating knowledge is the most effective. The use of evidence-based knowledge requires a nurse to understand how research findings can be applied in one’s setting. Therefore, it is necessary to review practices for translating data into activities and policies for change (DC 1.1.-1.4). Without linking studies’ findings not only to practice but also advocacy and education, evidence may lose its significant effect on the future of health care. The existence of health disparities is a problem that can be challenged by the appropriate use of research in practice.
Furthermore, the dissemination of information is also an essential step in introducing change. To achieve the best results, researchers should consider using persuasive communication and social marketing as pillars for the successful delivery of new data. These means are efficient because they engage team members in a conversation and highlight the benefits of change, thus promoting positive thinking. The analysis of a theoretically informed strategy of research dissemination demonstrated to me the value of using theory-based approaches in practice (MC3). I was able to advance my communicative and leadership skills further as well (MC1, DC 2.1-2.4).
As can be seen from the weekly analyses, the assignments and topics of the course provided me with many opportunities to improve my competencies as a nurse scholar. I practiced evaluating the latest research to appraise its quality, derive valuable data, and transfer it into practice. I also exercised my skills for implementing transformational change and enhanced my understanding of responsible leadership. I approached many of the tasks with the acknowledgment of systems prevalent in health care. Moreover, I considered a multitude of unique features that population health research has.
I gained valuable knowledge about the role of advanced practice nurses in the improvement of health care. I also dealt with challenges that I feared could undermine my commitment to education. I used time management strategies to allocate enough time to research. One of my weaknesses was the lack of focus I felt when I approached text-based learning. However, I challenged myself to follow the schedule that I created, and my commitment to improving organizational skills allowed me to concentrate on the important tasks. The use of theoretical knowledge and practical experience provided me with the confidence to tackle complex subjects and approach the issues of the current health care system with an open mind. I consider the ability to apply my experience and interpret it for broader themes’ analysis a personal strength. As a result, this course has contributed significantly to my personal view of the nursing profession and its impact on people’s wellbeing.