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faculty learning modules - 18 modules providing resources and in-depth exploration of core quality and safety issues

Learning Modules



The QSEN Learning Module series was designed to help both new and experienced faculty integrate the Quality and Safety competencies into their nursing programs. Each module explores a particular topic or issue, provides resources, and raises questions to engage users in expanding or strengthening the learning experiences they create with students around quality and safety.

In the introductory video (linked on the right) Pam Ironside, the developer and editor of the module series, provides an overview of this resource.

The Learning Modules were developed as part of the Phase III QSEN grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

photo of pam ironside

Video: Introduction to QSEN Modules by Pam Ironside (2:39 minutes)



Module One – Appreciating the Complexity of Nursing Work: Implications for Nursing Education

This module will assist you to understand nursing work through exploring principles of complexity science and properties of complex adaptive systems. You will recognize the complexity factors characteristic of current healthcare environments and obtain a new appreciation for the competencies required of RNs, both new and experienced, in delivering safe and quality care in these settings.

Module Two – Managing the Complexity of Nursing Work: Cognitive Stacking

In this module, you will learn about stacking, a continuous process of organization and prioritization embedded in RN work that occurs as care situations evolve. Currently stacking is learned primarily after graduation from a pre-licensure program. How might nursing educators in pre-licensure programs create opportunities for students to learn about and engage in this process to assist students to more effectively manage the complexity of their work and promote safe, quality patient care?

Module Three – Mindfulness: Implications for Safety, Self-Care and Empathy in Nursing Education

This module is an introduction to mindfulness that touches upon three of the many areas in the education of nurses that can be transformed by mindfulness practice. The capacity to pay attention in the present moment recognizes the reality of our complex lives, and in doing so, addresses all QSEN competencies with the creative wisdom and open-heartedness that is the intention of all in the profession. In this brief introduction, we will dip our toes in the water to explore the most basic understanding of mindfulness and how it might impact the lives of the future nurses we are educating in areas of patient safety, and compassionate care for patient and caregiver alike.

Module Four – Informatics

The module explores how innovations in health information technology have changed our work with nursing students in classroom, clinical and lab settings. Strategies to integrate informatics content across these settings are suggested, along with key resources for further information.

Module Five – Embedding QSEN Competencies in Beginning Clinical Courses

This teaching module focuses on the value of the Quality and Safety Education for Nursing (QSEN) for clinical education in nursing. Nursing clinical educators have always valued quality and safety, yet changes in nursing practice are requiring new approaches for preparing students to provide safe, quality care. Embedding QSEN competencies across nursing curricula, beginning with early clinical courses, is essential. This module highlights how clinical educators in early clinical courses can provide opportunities to engage students in activities that promote QSEN competencies. Additionally, this module focuses on which knowledge, skill and attitude elements (KSAs) are best suited for early clinical courses, and strategies for utilizing KSAs across clinical education settings. Finally, an expert clinical instructor demonstrates innovative strategies for applying QSEN competencies in clinical education teaching strategies.

Module Six – Teaching Patient-Centered Care Using Narrative and Reflective Pedagogies

As nurses we have a strong tradition of providing patient-centered care. In all types of programs students are introduced to the importance of patient-centered care right from the start, and this emphasis continues across levels, specialty courses and clinical experiences. Yet, how do we know if the care students provide is patient-centered? With the delineation of the QSEN competencies and knowledge, skills and attitude statements, our traditional understanding of patient-centered care has been articulated, extended and, in many cases, challenged. This module provides the opportunity to consider ways to build upon our current teaching strategies to explicitly foster students’ inquiry into and provision of patient-centered care using narrative and reflective pedagogies.

Module Seven – Nursing, Nursing Information Management, and Nursing Informatics

The QSEN competency for informatics requires that nurses at the graduate level are able to “use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making.” In this module, Josette Jones will guide faculty’s exploration of current information needs in nursing and the life cycle of electronic information systems. She will provide an overview of database structures and use and examples of information system applications in health care. The module concludes by exploring the implications of nursing information management and nursing informatics for nursing research, education, and practice.

Module Eight – Strategies for Making Assessment of QSEN Competencies Efficient and Conducive to Learning

In this module Susan Conner explores practical ways you can assess students’ achievement of QSEN competencies and use your assessment findings to promote students’ learning. Beginning with basic principles of assessment, the module explores a variety of assessment tools and sources of assessment data that can help students progress in their achievement of QSEN competencies and foster improvement of instructional design.

Module Nine – Managing Curricular Change for QSEN Integration

This module discusses change management strategies that can be used to integrate quality and safety into the existing curricula. The module includes the Quality and Safety Curricular Integration Framework as a tool to guide faculty in the change process. The framework is proposed as “a recipe for success.” At the core of this framework is education of faculty members and coordination of the QSEN concepts into the curriculum.

Module Ten – Interprofessional education (IPE): Learning for Practice

This module has been designed to assist you in understanding the background and development of interprofessional education (IPE) initiatives and to share a proposed conceptual framework of IPE. You will realize the required infrastructure and organizational support needed for successful IPE programs and finally have several concrete examples of IPE activities that have been successfully implemented in a variety of educational settings.

Module Eleven – Integrating QSEN into the Intermediate Nursing Curriculum: Working with Courses that Focus on Specialty Populations

This module highlights how nursing faculty can integrate QSEN competencies into intermediate courses. Focusing on specialty courses (Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Operating Room), faculty experts will share pedagogical strategies for introducing students to higher level competencies and reinforcing those learned in beginning courses.

Module Twelve – Integrating QSEN into the Advanced Nursing Curriculum

In this module, you will learn about integrating QSEN competencies into advanced courses where preparing students for the upcoming transition to practice is paramount. Presenters will also highlight ways faculty can identifying course outcomes and evaluate QSEN competencies to optimize students’ learning and achievement.

Module Thirteen – Cultivating a Culture of Justice in Nursing Education and Healthcare

As the largest part of the health care workforce, nurses have the opportunity to respond to the rapid changes occurring in a way that seeks to ensure every person has the opportunity to receive the best possible treatment and care. Cultivating a culture of justice where nurses and patients are full partners requires knowledge and skills in teamwork and collaboration. This module will explore the strategies for and implications of cultivating a culture of justice in nursing education and healthcare.

Module Fourteen – Strategies for Incorporating Rubrics in Assessment of QSEN Competencies

As schools across the country work to integrate the QSEN competencies and requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes into their courses and curricula, questions are now arising about how best to evaluate the extent to which students have achieved them. This module will help you get started creating rubrics to evaluate students’ achievement of QSEN competencies.

Module Fifteen – Using Simulation in Leadership Courses: Providing a Means for Application of Core Concepts

Undergraduate nursing management and/or leadership courses generally provide a thorough coverage of theory and knowledge about nursing leadership and organizations, but there is little or no opportunity for students to apply this content to gain skills and influence attitudes about leadership. Use of leadership simulation scenarios in undergraduate student nursing education is a highly effective method of instruction for use in facilitating the acquisition of skills and attitudes related to quality and safety in nursing leadership and management roles.

Module Sixteen – Preparing Students to Think Through the Complexities of Practice in Post-clinical Conferences

Nursing faculty are challenged to prepare students to practice in complex and rapidly changing clinical environments. When teaching groups of students in clinical settings, however, helping students think through the care they’ve provided and how it can be improved is difficult. This module provides an overview of Cognitive Task Analysis and how this approach can be used as a strategy to help students think through the complexities of practice in post-clinical conferences.

Module Seventeen – Patient Safety: Our intent is to do no harm – so why do errors happen?

The significance of errors in patient care has been highlighted in the literature and media since the 1999 sentinel work of the Institute of Medicine entitled To Err is Human: Building a safer health system. Using QSEN competencies to prepare students to be vigilant around patient safety and to understand the impact of errors, this module will share examples of patient safety, just culture, and will share some pedagogies using simulation to allow immersion into teamwork and collaboration to promote safe patient care.


Module Eighteen – Embedding QSEN Competencies in Prelicensure Curricula: Fostering Continuous Improvement

This module explores how faculty can respond to the IOM’s challenge to create curricula that are adaptive enough to undergo continuous evaluation and improvement in response to changes in the field. But creating curricula that are more flexible and adaptive will require new ways of thinking about curricular design. This module explores new possibilities for curriculum and how using improvement processes can assist faculty accelerate their improvement work.

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