Plan of Study
This blended online/in-classroom graduate level course integrates principles of systems thinking with foundational concepts in patient safety. Utilizing complexity theories, students assess healthcare practices and identify factors that contribute to medical errors and impact patient safety. Using a clinical microsystem framework, learners assess a potential patient safety issue and create preventive systems. Lessons learned from the science of safety are utilized in developing strategies to enhance safe system redesign. Core competencies for all healthcare professionals are emphasized, content is applicable for all healthcare providers including, but not limited to, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, social workers and healthcare administrators, and may be taken as an elective by non-majors.
Healthcare delivery is complex and constantly changing. A primary mission of leading healthcare organizations is to advance the quality of patient care by striving to deliver care that is safe, effective, efficient, timely, cost-effective, and patient-centered (Institute of Medicine). The goal of this interprofessional course is to provide students with a broad overview of the principles and tools of quality improvement and patient safety in healthcare as well address the knowledge, skills and attitudes as defined by the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) guidelines. It will provide a foundation for students or practicing clinicians who are interested in quality improvement and patient safety research, administration, or clinical applications.Content will address the history of the quality improvement process in healthcare, quality databases and improvement process tools and programs. Through the use of case studies and exercises students will be become familiar with the use of several quality improvement programs and tools. For example, the Plan-Do-Study- Act (PDSA) cycle, Six Sigma and the Toyota Production System known as Lean Production processes will be addressed. Students can use this course to identify the tools and design the methods that they plan to employ in a quality improvement or patient safety project in their area of interest.
Building on coursework that provided a broad overview of the principles and tools of quality improvement and patient safety in healthcare, students will apply this knowledge through completion of a mentored quality improvement project in a healthcare organization. In collaboration with faculty and health organization preceptors, students will identify a quality improvement opportunity and develop specific project objectives including, but not limited to, the use of appropriate tools, identification of measureable aims and evaluation methods, sustainable recommendations for process improvement and a comprehensive report of findings and recommendations. This course is part of the Quality Improvement and Safety Processes in Healthcare Minor and should be completed by the student as the capstone course in that minor; students engage in 192 hours of on-site project work.