UND Nursing Examines Patient Safety and Quality Care

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UND Nursing Examines Patient Safety and Quality Care

Health care in the United States is not as safe as it should be--and could be. Perhaps you or your family have been on the receiving end of a mistake within the healthcare system. The effects can be devastating, yet often preventable.

At least 44,000 people, and perhaps as many as 98,000 people, die in hospitals each year as a result of medical errors that could have been prevented, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report, To Err Is Human . Ten years after the IOM report one third of patients have reported personal or family experience with medical errors.

Because of these grim statistics, it is vital that nursing is actively engaged in creating a culture of safety within health care, thus reducing patient morbidity and mortality. UND’s College of Nursing is working to change patient outcomes through development of faculty expertise, curriculum review and collaboration with area health care facilities.

The College of Nursing (CON) at the University of North Dakota recently hosted QSEN at UND: Day of Dialogue. Faculty, clinicians, managers, and staff educators came together to discuss issues which impact the safety and quality of patient care.

The goal for the QSEN initiative is to meet the challenge of preparing future nurses who will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to continuously improve the quality and safety of the healthcare systems. The conference increased collaboration with UND’s clinical partners to enhance student learning and involvement in these important issues. Participants from our clinical partners were enthusiastic about participating in dialogue with UND College of Nursing faculty to address safety and quality issues in health care.

Representatives from the following agencies participated: Altru Health System, Sanford Health, Grand Forks Public Health, Polk County Public Health, Traill County Public Health, Aurora Renal Dialysis, and Essentia Health, Valley Memorial Homes.

The College of Nursing, under the leadership of Lucy Heintz and Bonnie Odermann, hosted a national expert from AACN to provide educational leadership for this project. Dr. Jane Barnsteiner, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor of pediatric nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, keynoted this event. Kevin Buettner, MS, CRNA, faculty at UND College of Nursing, also led discussion. With this project, UND College of Nursing assumes a leadership role within the region to enact a crucial initiative directed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), our accrediting body.

A number of alternative methods for students to participate in learning activities at our clinical agencies were brought forth as a result of the discussions. We expect the result will be that students will have a greater impact on patient outcomes while actively engaged in learning. Locally, CON nursing students will be actively working to provide safe, quality care. Nationally, as our graduate nurses enter the field of healthcare, they will bring these principles to practice.

In the words of Paul Batalden of Dartmouth College and member of the national Quality and Safety Education for Nursing (QSEN) Advisory Board “We can’t hope to make lasting change in the ability of healthcare systems to improve without changes in the ways we develop future health professionals. Those changes require faculty and schools to change.”

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