Case Western Reserve University to lead national nursing education initiative

Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing is set to become the epicenter of a comprehensive effort to enhance the quality and safety knowledge and skills for both future and practicing nurses around the country.

Next month, the nursing school becomes the new home of the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Institute, a project that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiated seven years ago at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). With the phased retirement of UNC-CH Professor Linda Cronenwett, Case Western Reserve nursing leaders saw an opportunity to deepen their involvement in a program aligned with the school’s forward-thinking approach to quality and safety education and practice.

“We’ve inherited a dynamic and profession-altering project, thanks to the work led by Dr. Cronenwett and Dr. Gwen Sherwood at UNC,” said Case Western Reserve Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Dolansky. “Much of the work of the last few years has been sharing with colleagues around the nation innovative ways to deliver quality and safety education through the website and the National Forums. Case Western Reserve will continue these features, making it easy for educators, faculty leaders and clinicians across the nation—the globe, for that matter—to access the QSEN materials.”

The focus of quality and safety education is six competencies: patient-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety and informatics. Each competency has specific goals for knowledge, skills and attitudes.

As QSEN’s new director, Dolansky will work with nursing and physician leaders to develop and disseminate information regarding the most modern and effective means for faculty to teach about quality and safety practices. The QSEN Institute will sponsor national and regional meetings and will add new curriculum materials on the website.

Dolansky will expand QSEN’s reach by enhancing the quality and safety resources to assist with education of nurses and other healthcare professionals in clinical practice. In addition, future work will include interprofessional educators, as quality and safety rely on health professionals working in teams.

The project builds on Case Western Reserve’s decades of prominence in interprofessional quality and safety education across its nursing, dental and medical schools. Case Western Reserve offers many interprofessional courses that focus on teamwork, quality and safety and hands-on learning opportunities such as the Student Run Free Clinic.

“Eventually,” Dolansky said, “an entire generation of healthcare professionals will receive this education to ensure safe and high quality healthcare.”