The QSEN Institute announced at its 2017 National Conference Forum that the UNC School of Nursing will serve as a QSEN regional site. As such, the School will advance the integration of quality and safety competencies across nursing education and practice.
QSEN, which stands for Quality and Safety Education for Nurses, holds roots at UNC. In 2007 Dean Emeritus Linda Cronenwett, PhD, RN, FAAN, spearheaded the launch of a seven-year quality and safety initiative, made possible through a series of four grants totaling $4.2 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Cronenwett served as principal investigator, and Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, served as co-PI. Carol Fowler Durham, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, was a simulation consultant.
In their resulting paper, which has been cited more than 500 times since it was published, the investigators outlined six core competencies which nursing education curricula must address to assure quality and safety in patient care. The competencies, along with the resulting 162 knowledge, skill and attitude objective statements, have been adopted by accrediting organizations for all U.S. nursing schools and are spreading globally.
Sherwood said hospitals both nationally and globally use those six competencies in training their employees, and some nursing schools use QSEN standards as the organizing framework for their curriculum.
“It has changed nursing curriculum everywhere as faculty have integrated these competencies,” she said. “QSEN has helped revitalize nursing because faculty have really embraced the change and integration.”
Now centered at Case Western Reserve University, the QSEN Institute seeks to create regional centers to emphasize quality and safety at the local level. With the School of Nursing as one of the regional sites, Sherwood and Durham will co-lead faculty and staff development, host conferences and sponsor projects that will attract surrounding education centers and health care institutions, and assist in integrating the QSEN competencies into their practice.
“I get excited about making a difference through this work, because we really do see outcomes in the reduction of health care errors,” said Sherwood.
Those results are seen nationally: hospitals and education centers in Sweden, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Thailand actively abide by QSEN standards in their nursing and education practices. And at the local level, Sherwood and Durham integrate the QSEN work into the Education Excellence Summer Institute for which faculty from around the region come to participate in presentations, didactic teaching, and simulations, led by Durham.
Durham said being a regional site provides the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing continued visibility in this important quality and safety work.
“Since our school was the birthplace for QSEN, we want to honor that past and also link to the future by having this platform for being able to bring emphasis to improving patient care,” she said.
“Being able to have a center here to further this work is like coming home again.”
For more information on the QSEN Institute, visit their website.