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Faculty Learning Module 5

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.


Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain current influences on quality and safety in healthcare that are shaping current expectations in clinical nursing education

  • Employ updated definitions of quality and safety that impact emerging models in clinical nursing education

  • Design innovative strategies for early clinical courses to effectively integrate the QSEN competencies into several clinical settings in clinical nursing education

  • Gail E. Armstrong, ND, RN, CNE

  • Amy J. Barton, PhD, RN

  • Katherine Foss, MSN, RN

  • Embedding QSEN Competencies, Part 1

  • Embedding QSEN Competencies, Part 2

  • Embedding QSEN Competencies, Part 3a

  • Embedding QSEN Competencies, Part 3b

  • Embedding QSEN Competencies, Part 3c

Nursing faculty at the University of Colorado Denver are actively embedding QSEN competencies across the curriculum. The following three presentations describe this work and provide examples to demonstrate how these competencies can be fostered from the very beginning of nursing programs

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3a
Part 3b
Part 3c
  • Video

  • Related Links

  • Reimbursement and Safety/Quality Indicators

  • Bibliography


The following video segments will provide you additional resources for embedding QSEN competencies into your early clinical courses. In the first video, listen to faculty from the University of Colorado Denver discuss their ongoing efforts. In the second video, watch Kathy Foss, an expert clinical instructor, in-action with her clinical group as she fosters their quality and safety competencies.

  • QSEN and Early Clinical Education in Nursing Interview (video)

  • QSEN: Application to Clinical Education Examples (video)

Related Links

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a list of patient safety organizations by geographic location or alphabetically

Many states have a Hospital Report Card where patients can track safety outcomes. Here is Colorado’s Hospital Report Card

Reimbursement and Safety/Quality Indicators

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated a policy in October of 2008 to no longer reimburse clinical agencies for “never events.”

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has four Open School modules on Patient Safety that review some of the most up to date and relevant content in safety in healthcare. They can be found in the IHI Open School course catalog:

  • PS 100: Introduction to Patient Safety

  • PS 101: Fundamentals of Patient Safety

  • PS 102: Human Factors and Patient Safety

  • PS 103: Teamwork and Communication

Using checklists, see: Gawande, A. (2007). The checklist. The New Yorker, December 10 issue. Available at


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