Fiscal constraints have heightened attention to health care costs and patient outcomes as measures of health care system effectiveness. Determining which patient and costs outcomes nurses may be held accountable for requires differentiating the impact of dependent, independent and interdependent nursing activities. A nursing role effectiveness model that includes a number of structural variables is offered to help track quality improvement and research activities. Some of the nurse-sensitive patient outcomes that have been identified include: freedom from complications, clinical outcomes, functional health outcomes, knowledge outcomes, perceived health benefit (or satisfaction), and costs outcomes. This model can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of current as well as evolving nurse roles, processes, and structural changes.