The accreditation process ensures that healthcare organizations are complying with laws and regulations that promote safety and quality. While the standards of professional performance for nurses are not specifically about the accreditation process, the mission of these standards aligns with the mission of accrediting bodies: high quality practice and patient safety. Nurses must comply with the standards of professional performance not only for the quality of their individual practice, but to ensure that nurses as a broader discipline meet these safety and quality standards, as judged by accrediting bodies.
Standard 15, Professional Practice Evaluation, is closely aligned with the focus of accreditation (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2015). One important piece of this standard asks nurses to ensure that their “practice is consistent with regulatory requirements” (ANA, 2015). This clearly aligns the standards of nursing with the high quality, and safety-focused standards of accrediting bodies. Ensuring that one’s practices meets accreditation standards at all times would improve the care quality and overall performance of the healthcare system. Additionally, as a part of this standard, nurses should evaluate their own practice, and engage in both formal and informal feedback processes to improve their performance (ANA, 2015). By bringing this continual constructive feedback into nursing, it has the potential to make profound changes in the healthcare system. Nurses are involved in every part of the healthcare system, so when nurses are evaluating and improving their practices on a daily basis, the whole system benefits.
Standard 11, Leadership, also helps nurses play a role in healthcare performance improvement (ANA, 2015). This standard explicitly “encourages innovation in practice” and asks nurses to influence “policy to promote health” (ANA, 2015). Innovation generates opportunities to improve healthcare system performance. New ideas, new methods, even new systems—these innovations all have the potential to change healthcare for the better. Nurses’ role in changing healthcare policy can also lead to significant changes in the healthcare system. Legislation is a big driving factor for healthcare changes, as exemplified by laws like HIPAA or ACA. Legislation also plays a role for accrediting bodies, because accrediting bodies help healthcare organizations follow the various rules laid out by the different laws.
American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing : Scope and standards of practice: Vol. 3rd edition. American Nurses Association.