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My organization has just recently identified its nursing sensitive indicators. Is there a way I can classify each indicator into a group?


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Once your organization has identified its nursing sensitive indicators, now is the perfect time to create a list of all the indicator data sets currently being collected within the organization for nursing performances. The list of indicators used to monitor nursing performance should be categorized into columns within the following headlines:

  • Indicator name
  • Applicability (i.e., the nursing service for which the indicator is relevant)
  • Indicator type (e.g., activity, review, rate, and rule)
  • Nurse relevant
  • Nurse specific
  • Excellence target
  • Acceptable target
  • Target/data source

Once the indicator list has been generated, you can classify each indicator into four main types:

  1. Activity indicators: Data sets that reflect a number or volume.
  2. Review indicators: Identify a significant event that would require analysis by nurse peers to determine cause, effect, and severity.
  3. Rule indicators: Represent a general rule, standard, or generally recognized professional guideline or accepted practice of nursing in which individual variation does not directly cause adverse patient outcomes.
  4. Rate indicators: Identifies cases or events that are aggregated for statistical analysis prior to review by the appropriate committee or administrative function and may be expressed as a percentage, average, percentile rank, or ratio.

Laura Cook Harrington, RN, MHA, CPHQ, CHCQM

(May 2010)