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Quality and Safety Education for Nurses: Looking Forward

Altmiller, Gerry EdD, APRN, ACNS-BC; Dolansky, Mary A. PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000416
Department: EDITORIAL

Author Affiliations: Associate Professor (Dr Altmiller), The School of Nursing, Health, & Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing; and Associate Professor (Dr Dolansky), Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Altmiller, The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Rd, Ewing, NJ 08628 (

Accepted for publication: May 20, 2017

This year marks 12 years since Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) was formed, and dedicated individuals seeking to improve patient care began the work of transforming the focus of nursing education. Since its inception, the goal of QSEN has been to reflect a new identity for nurses, one that demonstrates knowledge, skills, and attitudes that emphasize quality and safety in patient care. What began as a grassroots movement funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has grown into a national initiative, evident in accreditation standards in both academia and practice.

The QSEN Institute is now headquartered at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The organization maintains an active Web site ( with resources to support nurse educators in the work of integrating quality and safety competencies into both education and practice. Nurse educators can find more than 120 teaching strategies with implementation materials on the Web site, along with annotated bibliographies, learning modules, videos, and links to related Web sites such as a free massive open online course about quality improvement. In addition, the QSEN Institute continues to foster outstanding educational and networking opportunities at its annual international conference held each year in May. In the past 4 years, the conference has had more than 1400 attendees, and the QSEN Web site has had more than 1.9 million hits by 500000 users.

Expansion of QSEN includes 14 Task Forces and 8 QSEN Institute Regional Centers working collaboratively to create a wider network of nurses and other health care professionals to contribute to quality and safety educational resources and scholarship. The Regional Centers create opportunities to reach new clinical partners, clinical educators, faculty, continuing education leaders, students, and administrators. The collaborative work of the QSEN Task Force members has led to publications, grant funding, presentations, and focused Webpages that provide specific resources in the areas of academia, practice, entrepreneurship, research, clinical-academic partnerships, leadership, RN-BSN education, and policy, to name a few. The efforts of both the Regional Centers and Task Forces accelerate the momentum of the QSEN Institute as it inspires health care professionals to identify quality and safety as core values to guide their work.

This supplemental issue of Nurse Educator demonstrates the wide range of QSEN scholarship in nursing education and practice. Articles in this supplement share research findings evaluating the implementation of the QSEN competencies in nursing curricula on a national scale, through the 2017 National QSEN Faculty Survey, and on a regional scale, through evaluation of initiatives to integrate the QSEN competencies into San Francisco Bay Area schools of nursing. Continuing in the work of building educational resources, several articles focus on interprofessional education and best practices in describing teaching strategies that facilitate competency development for classroom and clinical learning and how that learning can be evaluated. Exemplars of QSEN in DNP programs and the impact this work has on practice are examined by authors from the QSEN DNP Task Force. Approaches for QSEN integration are considered in an article in which moving QSEN forward through implementation science is explored. Finally, the alliance between QSEN and practice partnerships is demonstrated in examples from across the country and linked to current initiatives for professional nursing in academia and practice.

Future directions for the QSEN Institute include evaluating QSEN competency integration across both academia and practice and the impact on clinical outcomes. This work will be facilitated by partnerships among academia, practice, and nursing organizations to align language, resources, and evaluation strategies. Such an alignment is described through the work of Dr Lyle-Eldrosolo,1 who developed a crosswalk between the QSEN competencies, The Joint Commission standards, and Magnet standards, which can serve as a foundation to combine our efforts to align practice and academia to achieve the aims of the Future of Nursing report.2 Partnerships between QSEN and nursing organizations, such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, and the American Nurses Association, will increase the strength and reach of the quality and safety movement. The development of a QSEN Scholars program, similar to the Veterans Administration Quality Scholars program,3 will lead to advances in our understanding of how system thinking and implementation science impact patient outcomes, as well as nursing practice.

Champions of QSEN advance the scholarship of quality improvement and patient safety across the continuum of nursing through professional development and building synergy among nursing organizations. Significant work remains to be done. As we forge ahead with this work, the QSEN Institute encourages collaboration with and among all those who desire to improve the health care system to make it safer, more efficient, and more accessible for all.

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1. Lyle-Eldrosolo GL. Aligning healthcare safety and quality competencies: Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), The Joint Commission, and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet® Standards Crosswalk. Nurse Leader. 2016;14(1):70–75.
2. Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academics Press; 2011.
3. Patrician PA, Dolansky MA, Estrada C, et al. Interprofessional education in action: the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship program. Nurs Clin North Am. 2012;47(3):347–354.
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