IX Glossary

Accreditation: A review process to determine if an agency meets the defined standards of quality determined by the accrediting body.

ANA Standards of Professional Practice: Authoritative statements of the actions and behaviors that all registered nurses, regardless of role, population, specialty, and setting are expected to perform competently.

Core measures: National standards of care and treatment processes for common conditions. These processes are proven to reduce complications and lead to better patient outcomes.

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP): A lifelong problem-solving approach that integrates the best evidence from well-designed research studies and evidence-based theories; clinical expertise and evidence from assessment of the health care consumer’s history and condition, as well as health care resources; and patient, family, group, community, and population preferences and values.[1]

Informatics: Using information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision-making.[2] This allows members of the health care team to share, store, and analyze health-related information.

Meta-analysis: A type of nursing research (also referred to as a “systematic review”) that compares the results of independent research studies asking similar research questions. This research often collects both quantitative and qualitative data to provide a well-rounded evaluation by providing both objective and subjective outcomes.

Nursing informatics: The science and practice integrating nursing, its information and knowledge, with information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families, and communities worldwide.

Nursing research: The systematic inquiry designed to develop knowledge about issues of importance to the nursing profession.[3] The purpose of nursing research is to advance nursing practice through the discovery of new information. It is also used to provide scholarly evidence regarding improved patient outcomes resulting from nursing interventions.

Patient safety goals: Guidelines specific to organizations accredited by The Joint Commission that focus on problems in health care safety and ways to solve them.

Peer-reviewed: Scholarly journal articles that have been reviewed independently by at least two other academic experts in the same field as the author(s) to ensure accuracy and quality.

Primary source: An original study or report of an experiment or clinical problem. The evidence is typically written and published by the individual(s) conducting the research and includes a literature review, description of the research design, statistical analysis of the data, and discussion regarding the implications of the results.

Quality: The degree to which nursing services for health care consumers, families, groups, communities, and populations increase the likelihood of desirable outcomes and are consistent with evolving nursing knowledge.

Quality Improvement (QI): A systematic process using measurable data to improve health care services and the overall health status of patients. The QI process includes the steps of Plan, Do, Study, and Act.

Qualitative studies: A type of study that provides subjective data, often focusing on the perception or experience of the participants. Data is collected through observations and open-ended questions and often referred to as experimental data. Data is interpreted by developing themes in participants’ views and observations.

Quantitative studies: A type of study that provides objective data by using number values to explain outcomes. Researchers can use statistical analysis to determine strength of the findings, as well as identify correlations.

Secondary source: Evidence is written by an author who gathers existing data provided from research completed by another individual. This type of source analyzes and reports on findings from other research projects and may interpret findings or draw conclusions. In nursing research these sources are typically published as a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Utilization review: An investigation by insurance agencies and other health care funders on services performed by doctors, nurses, and other health care team members to ensure money is not wasted covering things that are unnecessary for proper treatment or are inefficient. This review also allows organizations to objectively measure how effectively health care services and resources are being used to best meet their patients’ needs.

  1. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  2. QSEN Institute. (n.d.). QSEN competencies: Quality improvement (QI). https://qsen.org/competencies/pre-licensure-ksas/#quality_improvement
  3. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.


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