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To measure the contribution of nursing activities to patient outcome achievement requires a standardized language for documentation and retrieval of critical data elements. This pilot study explored the utilization of elements of the Nursing Minimum Data Set (NMDS) in a sample of patients undergoing parathyroidectomy. Results support the importance of nursing management's role in creating reliable systems that capture the critical elements of care delivery. The successful use of any system for documentation and for research will be dependent on education of the staff in the various taxonomies being used.