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Please forward your suggestions or comments to:

Kathy McGuinn
Director of Interprofessional Education and Practice Partnerships
Special Advisor for Quality Initiatives
(202) 463-6930 ext. 262

Sean Holloway
Online Learning Coordinator
(202) 463-6930 ext. 243

Quality & Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN)

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing led a national effort designed to enhance the ability of nurse faculty to effectively develop quality and safety competencies among graduates of their programs. AACN hosted a series of regional QSEN Faculty Development Institutes, held in 2010 and 2011, the program gave nurse faculty key training and information to improve their curricula. This interactive coursework focused on six core competencies:

Free Six-Module Course

Collaborative effort between AACN, the University of Minnesota, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation - that is aimed at faculty who are new to nursing informatics and are interested in a broad overview of the discipline. Subjects discussed in the course include knowledge complexity, informatics literacy, nursing knowledge work, data standards and standardized languages, clinical decision support, and future trends. Access the module course here.

QSEN Resources

Pre-Licensure QSEN Faculty Development Workshops

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) led 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 contributions assured 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. 

Graduate Faculty Development Workshop

This project aimed 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 was to prepare one or more faculty at a majority of the schools in the U.S. that offer graduate nursing education. Individuals who attended the workshops served as faculty champions for the redesign and implementation of graduate quality and safety curriculum. These conferences, supplemented by web based resources, provided 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 used a “train the trainer” approach to prepare a cadre of nursing faculty and nurse educators. Faculty and clinical educators who attended this workshop learned 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 were covered, as well as ways to champion quality and safety to implement changes in curriculum. A highly thoughtful, rigorous, and scholarly approach was taken to create a framework for the modules to be used in the faculty/educator development workshops. 

The workshops provided innovative curricular design and teaching strategies for faculty and specifically targeted faculty teaching in the full array of graduate nursing programs. The inclusion of hospital educators and practice partners in the workshop helped ensure alignment between the workshop content and needs of clinical sites; in addition, the participating clinical leaders enriched the workshop through discussion of case studies from the practice setting. Moreover, by encouraging the presence of practice partners, this project enhanced 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 was an important and essential component of this initiative. The impact of the workshop was 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 agreed to participate in pre-surveys and one-year post-institute surveys. Practice partners were 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 820 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. 

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. 


Barnsteiner, J., Disch, J., Johnson, J. McGuinn, K.  (2013). Special Issue: Quality and Safety Education for Nurses. Journal of Professional Nursing, Volume 29, No. 2, March-April 2013.

Johnson, J., Drenkard, K, Emard, E, McGuinn, K. (2015). Leveraging Quality and Safety Education for Nurses to Enhance Graduate-Level Nursing Education and Practice. Nurse Educator, Volume 40, No. 6, May, 2015