1. Oermann, Marilyn H. PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

Article Content

The Journal of Nursing Care Quality (JNCQ) begins its 30th year of publication in 2015. The first issue of the journal, then called the Journal of Nursing Quality Assurance, was published in 1986. The topics of articles over the years have mirrored issues in nursing care quality and the development of quality and safety in health care. A review of articles published over our 30-year history provides evidence of how the journal fulfilled its mission. In the first issue of the journal, there were 8 articles, and 7 of those were on costs and integrating cost analyses in quality assurance (QA). Quality assurance at that time focused predominantly on improving the processes of care delivery, and associated costs of care were typically not included as one of the outcomes. Larson and Peters called for costs of care to be considered as an essential quality indicator and for evaluation of costs to be an integral component of all QA studies.1(p1)


Another focus of articles in early issues was on computerizing QA systems. The 1980s marked an era of information explosion, but in hospitals, the use of computers was mainly for business applications. Many nursing authors in the journal recommended using computer systems for QA. One other theme in the early years of the journal was the comparison of QA to research. Quality assurance was limited in its impact to the clinical practice area and solving local problems. Research answered questions and tested hypotheses to provide knowledge that could be used beyond a particular setting. I believe we are clearer now as to differences among nursing research, quality improvement (QI), and evidence-based practice.


In the 1990s, articles explored outcomes of care, measuring outcomes, and benchmarking. Efforts were devoted to evaluating the effectiveness of care, and in 1991, Hegyvary2 outlined issues in the evaluation of patient care outcomes and determining the effects of nursing care on those outcomes. In October 1991, the name of the journal changed to Journal of Nursing Care Quality. Other articles in the 1990s focused on continuous QI, total quality management, evaluating patient satisfaction with nursing care, and patients' and nurses' perceptions of quality care. Many articles in JNCQ explored concepts of patient satisfaction with nursing care and reported studies on factors that influence satisfaction, measurement, and some of the tools.


While health care experts identified patient safety problems for many years, patient safety became a public concern in the late 1990s, and many of our articles through the present time have focused on initiatives to make care safer for patients. One of the changes in articles that I have observed over the years has been more reports on QI studies and a higher quality of research. This change can be seen with studies on falls that we have published. We recently released an article from NDNQI on challenges in defining and categorizing falls on diverse unit types,3 a study on the outcomes of a statewide fall and injury reduction program,4 and a report on the effectiveness of a fall prevention program implemented in multiple hospitals to reduce serious fall-related injuries on mental health units.5 As the quality of studies has improved over the years, so too has the strength of the evidence.


There have been only 2 editors of the journal-Patricia Schroeder and myself-in addition to periodic issue editors. For example, Lenard L. Parisi, a member of our Editorial Board, served as editor for the January 2003 issue (18:1) with a focus on QI in oncology care across the continuum. Marilyn Rantz has made many contributions to the journal through her articles and department on quality in long-term care. Her first article was published in 1989, on management structures to facilitate practice changes related to QI,6 and in 2014, she reported on a new initiative with nurse practitioners to reduce avoidable hospitalizations among nursing facility residents.7 Another board member, Carolyn Smeltzer, in an early issue of the journal, described how to evaluate a QA program8 and most recently wrote an editorial about the important role of nurses in the boardroom.9


There is no doubt that over the years articles in JNCQ have helped improve the quality of care not only in US hospitals and health settings but also in other countries. Thanks to our authors who have shared their initiatives and studies with readers, our Editorial Board and manuscript reviewers, and our publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. On this 30th anniversary of the Journal, we extend a special thanks to our readers.




1. Larson EL, Peters DA. Integrating cost analyses in quality assurance. J Nurs Qual Assur. 1986;1(1):1-7. [Context Link]


2. Hegyvary ST. Issues in outcomes research. J Nurs Qual Assur.1991;5(2):1-6. [Context Link]


3. Staggs V, Davidson J, Dunton N, Crosser B. Challenges in defining and categorizing falls on diverse unit types: lessons from expansion of the NDNQI Falls Indicator [published online ahead of print September 2, 2014]. J Nurs Care Qual. doi:10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000085. [Context Link]


4. Apold J, Quigley P. Minnesota Hospital Association statewide project: SAFE from FALLS. J Nurs Care Qual. 2012;27(4):299-306. [Context Link]


5. Quigley P, Barnett S, Bulat T, Friedman Y. Reducing falls and fall-related injuries in mental health: a 1-year multihospital falls collaborative. J Nurs Care Qual.2014;29(1):51-59. [Context Link]


6. Miller TV, Rantz MJ. Management structures to facilitate practice changes subsequent to QA activities. J Nurs Qual Assur.1989;3(4):21-27. [Context Link]


7. Rantz M, Alexander G, Galambos C, et al. Initiative to test a multidisciplinary model with advanced practice nurses to reduce avoidable hospitalizations among nursing facility residents. J Nurs Care Qual.2014;29(1):1-8. [Context Link]


8. Smeltzer CH. Evaluating a successful quality assurance program: the process. J Nurs Qual Assur.1988;2(4):1-9. [Context Link]


9. Smeltzer CH. Nurses at the highest level of decision making: in the boardroom. J Nurs Care Qual.2013;28(2):108-109. [Context Link]