It seems each new study that examines a particular facet of nursing also reinforces the notion that nurses are the backbone of healthcare delivery in the United States.
Nurses play the leading role in delivering and coordinating care for patients, safeguarding them against medical errors, and acting as the patients' advocate at a time when patients are struggling with anxiety, fear, pain, and confusion.
The role of nurse advocate and care coordinator will only grow in coming years as the practice of medicine gets more complex, and the medical care team approach becomes more entrenched. One could argue that experienced and well-trained nurses at the bedside are as big a factor in determining healthy patient outcomes as any other component in healthcare delivery. Someone will have to lead the care team, and nurses are the obvious choice.
The common sense findings in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study this month underscore the importance of nurses' critical thinking skills as the key component in reducing errors and improving outcomes.