Newly registered nurses should be encouraged to participate in online modules to learn about quality improvement protocols, and healthcare providers should make sure staffing levels are high enough for RNs to participate in QI activities, researchers said recently.

Although investigators at New York University and the University at Buffalo studied registered nurses in hospitals, many of the efforts at quality improvement have relevance in long-term care. Far too few newly registered nurses are involved in QI efforts, the authors wrote in Journal of Nursing Care Quality in November. The results were a part of The RN Work Project, a decade-long study of newly licensed registered nurses in 15 states that began in 2006.

In looking at nurses licensed in 2004 and 2005, compared to nurses licensed in 2007 and 2008, the research team found little difference in quality improvement activities. These include performance measurement and  working to improve systems of care.

Other recommendations in the study were for the nurses to have access to a technology infrastructure that provides timely QI data, and for facilities to have experienced colleagues provide guidance.