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Nurses Key to Care Coordination

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 17, 2012

The study by the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) appeared in the January issue of Qualitative Health Research. The study details 10 clinical reasoning practices and processes that 50 nurses at 10 hospitals have identified to prevent medication errors.

They are:

  • Educating patients about their medication;
  • Considering all factors related to the patient; 
  • Advocating for patients with the pharmacy;
  • Coordinating care with physicians;
  • Independently reconciling medications with patients' records;
  • Verifying medications and doses with colleagues;
  • Coping with interruptions and distractions;
  • Interpreting physicians' orders;
  • Documenting near misses;
  • Communicating openly with physicians, pharmacists and other team members.

This is not breaking news. Everything on that list would prompt a knowing nod from nurses.

However, these findings also give those who aren't nurses a better idea of the challenges that nurses face every day and the skills they need to do their job effectively. Imagine the sum total of these 10 focus points for each patient, multiply it by the number of patients under a nurse's care at just about any time and on no particular floor, and you might have a better idea of the pressures on time that are placed upon nurses on any given 8- or 12-hour shift.

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2 comments on "Nurses Key to Care Coordination"


b fennessey, rn (1/23/2012 at 11:20 AM)
you haven't addressed the role of the RN in the amb care setting.

Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA (1/17/2012 at 3:18 PM)
Thank you for this article. Although the basic premise may seem like common sense, you've brought forward some crucial points. First - that the nurse is central, not only to clinical outcomes but the entire patient experience. You remind us all that nurses deserve the support and respect of the other care team members in order to deliver the best, most competent care.