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Nursing Standards

The maintenance and development of nursing standards is something that serves to help define and advance the professional aspects of nursing. This process of establishing standards is important to maintaining benchmarks for the profession to ensure that a certain level of quality and professionalism is met within nursing. By clarifying the specific standards that are expected within the profession, nurses can see clearly what is expected of them and either meet the benchmarks or work on their professional development to ensure that they are met.

There are many areas in which nursing standards can be applied including: resource use, communication, correct application of therapies, accuracy in written reports, ethics, patient interactions and ability to accurately follow instructions. By having a specific set of nursing standards to meet, the profession benefits through a clear series of expectations within nursing, helps the public to understand the role of the nurse professionally and what to expect. Nursing standards also creates a series of goals that can be met within professional development and helps to provide a framework for analysis, feedback and commendation within nursing.

Nursing standards gives the nursing community a clear standard for self-evaluation in addition to allowing management to have an objective standard of performance against which to measure actual results. By creating this structure for professional development and expected competencies nurses can clearly identify areas in which they can improve and ways in which to achieve that improvement. Nursing standards are also helpful in rewarding those within the profession who are able to consistently achieve or surpass these benchmarks with awards of commendation so that they can be held up as an example of excellence within an organization.

The creation of nursing standards also helps to reinforce excellence and professionalism within nursing both within the nursing community itself as well as with the public and patients under nurse’s care. This creates a positive feedback system that can help an organization identify those individuals who are going above and beyond in their care via feedback from patients and also where improvements can be made at an organizational and individual level. This process helps to create an impression of quality, excellence and professionalism when the public considers the occupation of nursing. This in turn can help to create an environment in which legal and institutional changes that are beneficial to nursing become more likely due to public support of nursing.

Accountability is a key part of any profession and is important to help ensure not only individual performance meets professional and ethical standards, but also as a method in which to ensure that public confidence in nursing continues to increase. When a nurse acts in a less than professional or ethical manner, whether in actions or behavior, it is critical for both the individual, the organization in which they work and the profession as a whole that they be held accountable. The goal is not to punish, but to ensure that all nurses are given feedback on how to continue in their professional development, maintain a standard of excellence and also put patient safety and ethics at the forefront of their day-to-day activities as a nurse.

Nursing standards are an extremely important part of nursing, are what makes the profession have an internal sense of excellence and also helps to maintain a positive impression in the minds of the public. By having an objective measuring stick with which to evaluate real world outcomes, the profession, as well as individuals, benefit in a variety of ways. One of the keys to nursing standards is the American Nursing Association’s code of ethics which you can read about here.