Increasing the Quality of Patient Care through Performance Counseling and Written Goal Setting

A study of nursing practice using business management performance objectives. Three hypotheses were tested using a control group (usual care methods) and an experimental group (performance counseling protocols that required written goal setting, coupled with head nurse modeling and support to achieve goals.)

One goal was to improve patient care and the other was to improve staff nurse professional competence. After six months, experimental group scores were higher on five patient care scales, one significantly. After 12 months, scores shifted in favor of the control group, one significantly. Experimental group scores were higher on patient interview questions after six months and made additional gains after 12 months.

Experimental nurses generally were more satisfied with their nursing careers and described working relationships more positively. Nurses who received high patient care scores from outside observers described the hospital working environment in more positive terms. First published in Nursing Research 24 (March-April 1975):139-44

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