An important reason for pursuing a BSN through VCU is my desire to be an excellent, safe, caring nurse. I want to take every opportunity available to me to improve my practice, and become the best nurse I can be. One way that I measure my progress towards improved nursing practice is by considering the standards of professional nursing practice set forth by the American Nurses Association. By reflecting on how my individual practice compares to those standards, I can gain a deeper understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Over the course of this semester, the area where I feel I’ve made the most improvement is with the behaviors described by Standard 14, Quality of Practice (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2015). A large portion of the content in NURS 308 focused on nursing quality, by engaging with the concept of quality from a variety of angles. For example, I learned about barriers to nursing practice, laws and regulations that govern nursing, and about different accrediting and regulatory bodies that play a role in determining quality care. This standard also encourages nurses to engage in quality improvement projects, and at various points during this semester, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on quality improvement scenarios. I’ve also continued to hone my written and verbal communication skills through discussion boards and via group projects. This ties into Standard 9, Communication (ANA, 2015). Overall, I’ve learned a lot about very important external factors that have a profound impact on nurses, ranging from laws to accrediting organizations. One of the most helpful things I did this semester was sit down and read the Virginia Nurse Practice Act in its entirety. The opportunity to spend time and give my full attention to the details of legislation that impacts nursing really helped me understand the laws and how they impact my individual practice.

American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing : Scope and standards of practice: Vol. 3rd edition. American Nurses Association.