Descriptor: Employment of established and emerging principles of safety and improvement science. Quality and safety, as core values of nursing practice, enhance quality and minimize risk of harm to patients and providers through both system effectiveness and individual performance.
Contextual Statement: Provision of safe, quality care necessitates knowing and using established and emerging principles of safety science in care delivery. Quality and safety encompass provider and recipient safety and the recognition of synergy between the two. Quality or safety challenges are viewed primarily as the result of system failures, as opposed to the errors of an individual. In an environment fostering quality and safety, caregivers are empowered and encouraged to promote safety and take appropriate action to prevent and report adverse events and near misses. Fundamental to the provision of safe, quality care, providers of care adopt, integrate, and disseminate current practice guidelines and evidence-based interventions.
Safety is inclusive of attending to work environment hazards, such as violence, burnout, ergonomics, and chemical and biological agents; there is a synergistic relationship between employee safety and patient safety. A safe and just environment minimizes risk to both recipients and providers of care. It requires a shared commitment to create and maintain a physically, psychologically, secure, and just environment. Safety demands an obligation to remain non-punitive in detecting, reporting, and analyzing errors, possible exposures, and near misses when they occur.
Quality and safety are interdependent, as safety is a necessary attribute of quality care. For quality health care to exist, care must be safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, and personcentered. Quality care is the extent to which care services improve desired health outcomes and are consistent with patient preferences and current professional knowledge (IOM, 2001). Additionally, quality care includes collaborative engagement with the recipient of care in assuming responsibility for health promotion and illness treatment behaviors. Quality care both improves desired health outcomes, and prevents harm (IOM, 2001). Addressing contributors and barriers to quality and safety, at both individual and system levels, are necessary. Essentially, everyone in health care is responsible for quality care and patient safety. Nurses are uniquely positioned to lead or co-lead teams that address the improvement of quality and safety because of their knowledge and ethical code (ANA Code of Ethics, 2015). Increasing complexity of care has contributed to continued gaps in healthcare safety.