The impact of nursing care on patients’ outcomes has been demonstrated in adult and pediatric settings. However, limited attention has been given to standardized measurement of pediatric nursing care. A collaborative group, the Consortium for Congenital Cardiac Care Measurement of Nursing Practice, was formed to address this gap. The purpose of this study was to assess the current state of measurement of the quality of pediatric cardiovascular nursing in freestanding children’s hospitals across the United States.


A qualitative descriptive design was used to assess the state of measurement of nursing care from the perspective of experts in pediatric cardiovascular nursing. Nurse leaders from 20 sites participated in audiotaped phone interviews. The data were analyzed by using conventional content analysis.


Each level of data coding was increasingly comprehensive. Guided by Donabedian’s quality framework of structure, process, and outcome, 2 encompassing patterns emerged: (1) structure and process of health care delivery and (2) structure and process of evaluation of care. Similarities in the structure of health care delivery included program expansion and subsequent hiring of nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing and experienced nurses to provide safety and optimal outcomes for patients. Programs varied in how they evaluated care in terms of structure, measurement, collection and dissemination of data.


External factors and response to internal processes of health care delivery were similar in different programs; evaluation was more varied. Seven opportunities for measurement that address both structure and process of nursing care were identified to be developed as benchmarks.

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