Theses Doctoral

Discovering the Meaning of Quality Nursing Care Through the Lived Experience of Bedside Critical Care Nurses

Mascellaro, Nicole

Nurses make up the largest human resource component of healthcare. With this in mind, understanding what quality care means to the nurses providing it becomes relevant. There have been numerous efforts made to understand, define, measure, and influence the phenomenon of quality nursing care. These efforts have reflected the perspectives of patients, nurses, and nursing leadership.

Bedside critical care nurses provide care in a dynamic, high-paced environment where patients have life-threatening conditions, may not be conscious of their care or condition, and outcomes including mortality are multifactorial, not always care-dependent. In such a scenario, outcome-based assessments of quality nursing care may result in inaccurate findings, making it difficult to create and institute improvement efforts.

This qualitative phenomenological study was designed to uncover the meaning of quality nursing care through the lived experiences of bedside critical care nurses. Twenty-two bedside critical care nurses were interviewed, and their responses analyzed using van Manen’s method of phenomenology to uncover five essential themes that represent the meaning of quality nursing care: (a) It is not just taking care of the illness; (b) Being there for another, it’s the little things; (c) It is knowing your stuff—bed bath, and beyond; (d) It is roles, not just responsibilities; and (e) It means having resources.The results and discussion aim to clarify, through example, the meaning of quality nursing care differentiated from its definition. Findings of this study contribute to a large body of literature regarding quality nursing care. Furthermore, the results are relevant to nurses, educators, managers, and leadership to aid in assessment of quality nursing care and support its provision.


  • thumnail for Mascellaro_tc.columbia_0055E_11431.pdf Mascellaro_tc.columbia_0055E_11431.pdf application/pdf 1.76 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Weidenbaum, Allan
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 21, 2024