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Quality Improvement in Clinical Nutrition: Screening and Mealtime Protection for the Hospitalized Patient

Yordy, Beverly Morgan DNP, RN-BC, ACNS-BC; Roberts, Sarah DNP, RN; Taggart, Helen M. PhD, RN, ACNS-BC

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000292
Feature Article

Purpose: The purpose of the quality improvement project was to (1) enhance awareness, accuracy, and use of the validated nutrition screening tool by the nurse and (2) improve compliance to the nutrition care plan that included increasing patient meal intake percentage.

Description of the Project: Nurses were provided with an in-depth educational program focused on the implementation of the nutrition screening tool on patient admission to the clinical site. Second, a unit-level patient protected mealtime program was implemented in an effort to decrease unnecessary mealtime interruptions and promote nurses and nursing assistants to assist with meals during mealtime to improve patient meal intake percentage and, finally, to encourage collaboration between the clinical nurse specialist, unit level nurses, and registered dietitians to improve patient nutritional care.

Outcome: The results indicate that the quality improvement strategies were successful in promoting the patient protected mealtime program and use of the nutrition screening tool.

Conclusions: The clinical nurse specialist plays a valuable role in program development, implementation, and evaluation to achieve quality healthcare through interdisciplinary collaboration. Adhering to nutrition guidelines for the hospitalized adult patient improves nutrition care plan guidance and meal intake.

Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor (Dr Yordy), School of Nursing, Auburn University; and Assistant Professor (Dr Roberts) and Adjunct Faculty (Dr Taggart), Adult Health Nursing Department, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Beverly Morgan Yordy, DNP, RN-BC, ACNS-BC, Auburn University School of Nursing, 214 Miller Hall, Auburn, AL 36849 (

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