Several hundred nurses converged on the University of Central Florida campus Tuesday to hear Martha A. Q. Curley, a pediatric critical care nursing expert, author and nurse scientist, speak on Nightingale Nursing Metrics.

It’s an interesting time in health care with an emphasis on quality, safety and efficiency, Curley said. “Yet to be true to the legacy of Florence Nightingale, contemporary measurement in nursing should also call upon nursing-care processes that contribute to optimal patient outcomes.”

Curley discussed the importance of linking what nurses do to improve patient outcomes, how nursing is typically measured within health care organizations, and how the Nightingale Metrics process works to engage bedside nurses in the identification and measurement of unit-specific, patient-centered outcomes.

Curley’s presentation – Nightingale 2012: Knowing, Describing and Measuring How Nurses Make a Difference – was part of the annual Orlando Health Nursing Lecture series, established through a $250,000 gift to the UCF College of Nursing.

Jean D’Meza Leuner, dean of the UCF College of Nursing, is grateful for the vibrant and longstanding academic-practice partnership with Orlando Health. “We are working together to heighten awareness of nursing research and how it directly relates to improving patient outcomes,” she said. “Thanks to Orlando Health’s generous gift, we are able to bring in world-renowned nurse scientists to share their expertise and enrich the entire nursing community through education and research.”

Curley is the Ellen and Robert Kapito Professor in Nursing Science at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia. She holds a joint appointment in anesthesia and critical care medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and is a nurse scientist in the cardiovascular and critical care nursing program at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Curley earned a Ph.D. from Boston College, a master’s degree in acute care pediatric nursing from Yale University, a bachelor of science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a diploma in nursing from Springfield (Mass.) Hospital School of Nursing.

The free lecture, hosted by the UCF College of Nursing, was open to the public and attendees earned one contact hour of continuing education credit. This was the second annual lecture in the Orlando Health Nursing Lecture series. In 2010, Barbara Balik, a nationally renowned speaker and author, was brought in to lecture on “Maximizing Your Nursing Power: When Good Isn’t Good Enough.”

Established in 2009, the Orlando Health Nursing Endowed Fund supports three imperatives at the UCF College of Nursing: an annual lecture with topics addressing nursing trends; scholarships for students enrolled in the research focused Honors in the Major program; and the Orlando Health Distinguished Professor in Nursing, held by UCF professor Mary Lou Sole, who is an internationally recognized acute and critical care researcher and a fellow in both the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Critical Care Medicine.