Generating evidence for care improvement has characterized my program of research spanning 20 years. Six domains are highlighted to advance the science and practice of critical care nursing in today’s complex health care systems. Employee well-being and taking care of team members are key priorities for successful leaders. Understanding that patient and staff outcomes are inextricably linked strengthens the need for care environments to be healing and holistic for staff and patients. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ Healthy Work Environment framework empowers staff and optimizes the experience for patients, their families, and care teams. Appropriate staffing, guided by contemporary acuity measurement, takes into account the cognitive workload and complexity of nursing. Committing to a culture of certification and ensuring staffing models with appropriately educated and experienced nursing staff will remain important. In the past decade, we have established the impact of these specific nursing characteristics on improved patient outcomes. Understanding the attributes of empathic and empowered teams is requisite for authentic leadership. Interventions to mitigate moral distress are necessary to foster moral resilience among critical care nurses. The challenge for the future will be to support organizational health through the coexistence of highly reliable processes and clinical innovation. Excellence is achieved when systems are designed to support professional practice and clinical teams and environments.

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