Nursing References

Nursing forms & templates


2022 Sentara Healthcare System Nursing Glossary

For use with standard system language and interpretation of nursing terminology

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs)- A subset of graduate-level prepared registered nurses who have completed an accredited graduate-level education program preparing the nurse for special licensure and practice for one of the four recognized APRN roles: certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse-midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), or certified nurse practitioner (CNP). 

Capstone(s) – Used to describe final project-based student coursework.

Care Delivery System -System for delivery of care that delineates nurses’ authority and accountability for clinical decision making and outcomes.

  • Functional Nursing:  task-oriented method where particular nursing function is assigned to each staff member.
  • Team Nursing:  concept of RNs, LPNs, and unlicensed assistive personnel working together to identify, plan, implement, and evaluate patient-centered care.
  • Modular Nursing:  modification of team nursing, where emphasis is on the patient’s geographic location for assignments. The patient unit is divided into modules or pods, with consistent teams of caregivers to the same geographic location.
  • Total Patient Care: RN provides the majority of direct care for a specific shift.
  • Primary Nursing:  RN is accountable 24 hours a day from admission to discharge. Current models assign accountability only for the length of the shift the RN is working.
  • Modified Primary Nursing:  RN care model with support staff to deliver care. RN delegates tasks and care to other team members as appropriate to scope of practice. Responsibility for care of the patient or group of patients rests exclusively with RN.
  • Partnership Model: founded on belief to deliver effective high quality care series of partnerships need to be in place between nursing, support staff and patient.
  • Zone (Pod) Nursing assigns a team of providers to a certain number of beds in a small geographic area of the department, allowing for increased collaboration among caregivers, seen most often in emergency departments.

Competence- An individual who demonstrates “competence” is performing successfully at an expected level (ANA, 2014, p. 3).

Competency- An expected level of nursing performance that integrates knowledge, skills, abilities, and judgment (ANA, 2014, p. 3).

Culturally and Socially Sensitive Care– Beliefs and practices that make up patients’ value system that may be based on ethnic heritage, nationality of family origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status.

Delegation- Transfer of responsibility for the performance of a task from one individual to another while retaining accountability for the outcome. The RN cannot delegate responsibilities related to nursing judgment.

Evidence-based practice – Conscientious use or integration of the best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences in nursing practice.

Exemplar– Concept, practice, or program worthy of imitation.

Innovation- Application of creativity or problem solving that result in a widely adopted strategy, product, or service that meets a need in a new and different way.

Job Aid: Informational tool used to carry out a procedure step.

Nurse Mentor– Experienced nurse who has developed expertise and can be a strong force in shaping a nurse’s identity as a professional.

Nurse Residency – Formal program to effectively support new nurse graduate transition into first professional role.  A systematically scheduled program usually offered in cohorts to promote professional development.

Nurse Sensitive Clinical Indicators- Measures that reflect the quality of care given to patients by nurses.

Nursing- Nursing integrates the art and science of caring and focuses on the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and human functioning; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing; and alleviation of suffering through compassionate presence. Nursing is the diagnosis and treatment of human responses and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in recognition of the connection of all humanity. (ANA, 2021).

Orientation – Specified time where new employees are given tools and resources required for onboarding to the standards within the system/hospital, includes validation of skills and clinical competency, via a preceptor to their unit.  Provides consistent way for new hires to become familiar with mission, vision, values, goals, organizational structure, technology, and resources.

Performance Peer Review – Peer-provided components of a periodic clinical evaluation or performance appraisal by which registered nurses with similar roles, education, clinical expertise, and licensure assess and judge the performance of professional peers against established practice and organizational standards.

Policy- Defines a non-negotiable requirement. The requirement may be mandated by a regulatory agency (such as DNV, CMS, and OSHA) or self-imposed to ensure safety, quality, or cost effectiveness. Applicable regulations may be cited. Policy documents are informational documents, generally accessed only when needed for informational purposes. 

Preceptor- An experienced individual to teach, guide, and assist another who is learning a role.

Procedure- Provides step-by-step actions for achieving an outcome. The format is designed to provide the appropriate level of detail for both the experienced and for the less-experienced employee.

Professional Practice Model (PPM) – Schematic description that depicts how nurses practice, collaborate, communicate, and develop professionally to provide quality care to those served.

Registered nurse (RN)- An individual who is educationally prepared and then licensed by a state, commonwealth, territory, or government regulatory body to practice as a registered nurse. “Nurse” and “professional nurse” are synonyms for a registered nurse.

Research – Systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. [45 CFR §46.102(d)].”

Shared Governance- Working model of participatory decision making in which nurses make decisions about clinical evidence-based practice standards, quality improvement, professional development, and nursing research (ANCC, 2017).

Social determinants of health- “The social determinants of health (SDH) are the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, and political systems” (World Health Organization, n.d.).

Supervision– Active process of directing, guiding, and influencing the outcome of an individual’s performance of a task.

System Patient Sensitive Indicator Committees– Topical focused ad-hoc groups of nurses monitoring patient-sensitive outcomes, which mean they are sensitive to those interventions performed primarily by nurses.

System Nursing Council– Used to describe system level advisory groups formally organized and meeting regularly to support nursing practice.

System Nursing Forum– Used to describe system level nursing meetings where evidence-based practice issues on particular specialty practice issues are exchanged and formalized, membership dependent on majority of divisional staff level representatives.


American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (4th Ed.). Silver Spring, MD: author

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). (2017). 2019 Magnet Application Manual. Silver Springs, MD: author