Interest in clinical guidelines is expanding significantly. Clinical guidelines have been developed by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, specialty organizations representing almost every health-care discipline, and individual agencies and facilities. Clinical guidelines may be used in the development of practice and patient care standards and within care delivery models such as case management. Clinical guidelines offer professional nurses an opportunity to define their practice and their contributions to outcomes-based patient care. Clinical guidelines also may enable Interdisciplinary continuous quality improvement to ensure ongoing optimization of care delivery and patient outcome. Therefore, clinical guidelines can be used to design patient care that is truly driven by patient need and that empowers optimal contributions by nurses and all other members of the caregiving team

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