About QSEN

About QSEN

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are leading a national effort designed to enhance the ability of nursing faculty to effectively develop quality and safety competencies among graduates of their programs. These significant and ongoing contributions help assure that nursing professionals are provided the knowledge and tools needed to deliver high quality, safe, effective, and patient-centered care. Beginning with Phase I, the  Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) project, led by Dr. Linda Cronenwett, identified the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) that nurses must possess to deliver safe, effective care. In Phase II, QSEN faculty, a National Advisory Board, and 17 leaders from 11 professional organizations representing advanced nursing practice defined graduate-level quality and safety competencies for nursing education and proposed targets for the KSAs for each competency (Cronenwett, 2009). During Phase III of QSEN that spanned from 2009 to early 2012, AACN hosted eight faculty development institutes to better prepare nurse faculty in undergraduate programs to teach quality and safety content. Regional trainings were held in San Antonio, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, and Charleston, SC.

Much of this previous QSEN work has focused on nurses in entry-level roles. Additionally, no specific initiative has addressed the need to provide graduate faculty and their practice partners with the evidence-based tools and support for integration and dissemination of the content that will assure acquisition of these KSAs. The growing focus on assuring and measuring quality and efficiency of healthcare outcomes necessitates markedly transformed graduate-level nursing education that addresses these issues (IOM, 2010). Graduate-level competencies are needed to serve as benchmarks for faculty teaching and performing research in graduate-level nursing programs. These graduate nurses will be the future leaders in practice, administration, education, and research. It is essential that these nurses understand, provide leadership by example, and promote the importance in providing quality health care and outcome measurement.


This project aims to address this issue/opportunity by implementing a series of pre-conference workshops, held in conjunction with national specialty or faculty conferences. The goal of the faculty development workshops is to prepare one or more faculty at a majority of the schools in the U.S. that offer graduate nursing education.  Individuals attending the workshops will serve as faculty champions for the redesign and implementation of graduate quality and safety curriculum. These conferences, supplemented by web based resources, will provide guidance and support for faculty working to teach their colleagues about mechanisms used to prepare graduate-level nursing professionals for high quality and safe practice.

This initiative will use a “train the trainer” approach to prepare a cadre of nursing faculty and nurse educators. Faculty and clinical educators attending this workshop will learn quality and safety content, as well as innovative techniques for teaching this content to students and other faculty and colleagues. Strategies for advancing quality and safety content at participants’ home schools and organizations will be covered, as well as ways to champion quality and safety to implement changes in curriculum. A highly thoughtful, rigorous, and scholarly approach has been taken to create a framework for the modules to be used in the faculty/educator development workshops.

The workshops will provide innovative curricular design and teaching strategies for faculty and will specifically target faculty teaching in the full array of graduate nursing programs. The inclusion of hospital educators and practice partners in the workshop will help ensure alignment between the workshop content and needs of clinical sites; in addition, the participating clinical leaders will enrich the workshop through discussion of case studies from the practice setting. Moreover, by encouraging the presence of practice partners, this project will enhance the clinical learning environment for students and potentially enhance the capacity of these clinical sites to engage in systematic quality and safety improvement efforts.


Pre-and post-institute evaluation will be an important and essential component of this initiative. The impact of the workshop will be measured in the following ways:

  • Number of additional faculty trained at the home institutions

  • Number of nursing courses with enhanced quality and safety content
  • Number of students who are enrolled in those modified nursing courses
  • Examples provided of key initiatives to improve quality and safety among clinical sites, partnered with graduate schools/colleges of nursing

** Attendees must agree to participate in pre-surveys and one-year post-institute surveys. Practice partners will be surveyed one-year post-institute to determine how these clinical partners have utilized the resources. **


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 640 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacn.nche.edu

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation(RWJF) focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country.  As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. www.rwjf.org