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Old Fashion Wisdom – Leah Curtin on Improving HCAHPS

· Kim Tucker,

When I was in nursing school – one of my role models was Leah Curtin.  Her practical observations, willing to point out the elephants in a room, calling BS (in a very lady-like manner) and most importantly, her pride in being a nurse was a critical part in the development of my own nursing practice these last 37 years.  Her article on improving HCAHPS in the July 2014 issue of American Nurse Today is a perfect example of the traits I have always admired in her:

  • Pointing out elephants: Most quality programs don’t work
  • Wisdom: Quality is in the hands of the one doing the work
  • Calling BS: Staff are overextended while foyers and C-suites are the stuff of interior designers’ dreams

She suggests that building the foundation of our nursing practice on old fashion values; courtesy, kindness, respect, accuracy, duty, loyalty, commitment, justice, honesty, diligence, compassion and discipline creates a spirit of quality inside each one of us.

Which would patients and their family prefer: a room that looks like a 5 star hotel or a competent and caring nurse who has the time to sit and explain what is happening?  A stunning atrium with waterfalls or a staff who has the time to show kindness to everyone who comes on their unit? Which truly contributes to a higher HCAHPS score? Healthcare demands a different level of quality than other endeavors.

My first job after high school was working as an electronic assembler for Texas Instruments.  As long as I followed the design specifications when building a part, then I delivered a quality product.  But as a registered nurse, if I do all the right steps but am too stressed to be compassion or too busy to take time to be kind, then I do not believe I have delivered quality nursing care.

Although we have never met, I thank you, Leah, for all you have brought to nursing and to my profession and personal development through the years.  I’m pretty good at calling BS too!

How do you define quality nursing care?

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