Clinical audit in veterinary practice — the role of the veterinary nurse
Clinical audit is about measuring clinical effectiveness, it is part of a quality improvement process with the goal of continuously improving the quality of patient care. Veterinary nurses play a crucial role in preparing for, setting up and running clinical audits, so it is essential that they have a good understanding of the audit process. Thorough preparation for the audit should ensure a successful outcome. This involves choosing a suitable subject which is relevant to the team and measureable, and then deciding whether an outcome, process or significant event audit is the best course of action. Planning how to collect the data, analysing the data once the practice has it and most importantly acting on the results and making any necessary changes are all vital to ensure the practice gets maximum benefit from the clinical audit. A re-audit once changes have been implemented is also a crucial part of the process. The use of audit to benchmark the practice performance against other practices is discussed and there are examples of both outcome and process audits. Introducing simple nursing audits can allow the team to rapidly see the value of the auditing process and real differences made to patient care.
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