The 1991 JCAHO nursing care standards represent a fundamental shift in the focus of the survey and accreditation processes from specifying the means to clarifying the ends of nursing services and from prescribing structures and processes to clarifying the intended outcomes of nursing care. As critical care nurses prepare to meet the compliance requirements of these new accreditation standards, it will be helpful to keep in mind that our services are nursing care, nursing management, and nursing education or research, but our purpose is quality nursing care.

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