Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle Essay

Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle Essay

In healthcare, ensuring the delivery of high-quality care and improving patient outcomes is a constant endeavor. To achieve these goals, healthcare organizations often turn to quality improvement models. One such model is the PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycle. The cycle consists of four key stages – Plan, Do, Study, and Act – each playing a critical role in the improvement process (Chen et al., 2020).

In healthcare, patient satisfaction is a critical aspect of quality care delivery. As a nurse working in an inpatient geriatric medical nursing unit, improving patient satisfaction scores with pain management has been an ongoing concern. Despite collecting good data from patients, the unit has consistently received lower scores compared to the national benchmark and other units within the hospital. Applying the PDSA quality improvement model aids to address this problem systematically (Qiu & Du, 2021).

To initiate the PDSA cycle, the nursing unit needs to identify the problem and set specific objectives with the primary aim to increase the percentage of patients who report being very satisfied with pain management (score of 5) from the current low 70s to a target closer to the national benchmark of 85%. To achieve this, the team needs to explore potential interventions and strategies that could positively impact patient satisfaction scores.

Some potential strategies to consider in the planning phase include improving communication between nurses and patients to better understand and address their pain management needs. Implementing bedside shift reporting and encouraging nurses to actively listen to patient concerns improves communication (Bai, 2023). Additionally, conducting pain assessment and management protocols and evidence-based pain management protocols to ensure consistent and effective pain relief strategies. It is also important to provide ongoing education and training to nursing staff on pain management best practices, geriatric pain considerations, and communication skills with elderly patients.

Once the plan is in place, the nursing unit will pilot the selected interventions on a small scale for a specific duration (Do). During this pilot phase, data will be collected from a subset of patients to measure the impact of the interventions on patient satisfaction scores. This involves selecting a particular shift or a few rooms to implement the changes. The pilot will provide valuable insights into the feasibility and effectiveness of the interventions (Chen et al., 2020).

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After implementing the interventions, the nursing unit will analyze the data collected during the pilot phase (Study). This analysis will involve comparing the patient satisfaction scores before and after the interventions. Additionally, the team will examine qualitative feedback from patients to understand their perspectives better. The comparison of results determines whether the interventions have led to any significant improvements in patient satisfaction scores with pain management.

Based on the findings from the study phase, the nursing unit will act upon the results (Act). If the interventions result in a notable improvement in patient satisfaction scores, the team will decide to implement the changes on a larger scale across the entire unit. However, if the interventions do not lead to the desired outcomes, the team will adapt the strategies based on the lessons learned and repeat the PDSA cycle.

Applying the PDSA model to the Practice Experience Project promotes a systematic approach to change, ensuring that all decisions are data-driven and evidence-based. This minimizes the risk of implementing ineffective or potentially harmful interventions. The iterative nature of the PDSA cycle encourages continuous learning and adaptability(Chen et al., 2020). By embracing a culture of continuous improvement, healthcare organizations can remain responsive to emerging challenges and opportunities, ultimately enhancing patient care and outcomes. Involving stakeholders at every stage of the PDSA model fosters a sense of ownership and engagement. This collaborative approach empowers frontline staff and clinicians to contribute their expertise and insights, resulting in more sustainable and impactful improvements.



Bai, X. (2023). Application of the PDCA cycle for nursing safety management in radiology department. Journal of Radiology Nursing42(2), 241–244.

Chen, Y., Zheng, J., Wu, D., Zhang, Y., & Lin, Y. (2020). Application of the PDCA cycle for standardized nursing management in a COVID-19 intensive care unit. Annals of Palliative Medicine9(3), 1198–1205.

Qiu, H., & Du, W. (2021). Evaluation of the effect of PDCA in hospital health management. Journal of Healthcare Engineering2021, 6778045.


Since this is a group discussion, each group has its own conversation for this topic. Here are the ones you have access to:

Choose a Quality Improvement Model from Chapter 5 in the Spath (2018) textbook and apply this model to your practice problem. Please do not choose Lean or Six Sigma as your quality model unless you have an expert in these quality models in your organization to guide you through the process.

PDSA (p.124).

RCI (p.127).

FOCUS PDCA (p.128).

FADE (p.129).

Post a Discussion entry describing the model that you selected and how each step of the model will be used to develop the plan for the Practice Experience Project. Continue to collaborate with the selected individuals in your practice environment as needed in the development of the Practice Experience Project and share this information with your group.

Reading Requirement

Spath, P. (2018). Introduction to healthcare quality management (3rd ed.). Health Administration Press.

Chapter 4, “Evaluating Performance” (pp. 79-118)

Chapter 5, “Continuous Improvement” (pp. 119-142)

Chapter 6, “Performance Improvement Tools” (pp. 143-174)

Note: Although Chapter 4 is previously assigned reading, please review it in preparation for this week’s material.

Yoder-Wise, P. S. (2019). Leading and managing in nursing (7th ed.). Mosby.

Chapter 19, “Building Effective Teams” (pp. 335-356)

Microsoft. (n.d.). Use charts and graphs in your presentationLinks to an external site..

Perla, R. J., Provost, L. P., & Murray, S. K. (2011). The run chart: A simple analytical tool for learning from variation in healthcare processesLinks to an external site.. BMJ Quality and Safety,


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