My early nursing career offered me a variety of care areas and work settings. Shortly after graduating with my BSN, I began my nursing career in Labor & Delivery at a hospital in downtown Omaha. While not as notorious as some other inner-city facilities in the country, it was a reality check and an often-stressful setting for a ‘farm-girl’ from rural Nebraska. My eyes were quickly opened by the cases that we saw in this trauma center caring for a diverse population.
The Academy of Medicine (previously known as the Institute of Medicine) defines health care quality as "the degree to which health care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.1" Over 20 years ago, the Academy identified six key aims to improve healthcare system quality – safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care. Since that time, each of these concepts has been defined, explored, and measured in a variety of ways.