As focus increases on health care quality and positive patient outcomes, the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and the George Washington University School of Nursing (GW Nursing) recognize that a coordinated, competent workforce begins in the classroom. The two entities have collaborated to incorporate content aligned with NAHQ’s industry-standard Healthcare Quality Competency Framework into a GW School of Nursing graduate-level course titled Advancing Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety.
Furthermore, as part of GW Nursing’s commitment to equipping its graduates to be better contributors and stronger job candidates, GW is working with NAHQ to prepare students to sit for the only accredited certification in the industry, NAHQ’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) designation.
Until NAHQ developed its twice-validated competency framework, the industry offered neither a single training pathway nor an established competency standard for health care quality. The disparate skillsets, tools and vocabulary used to address similar problems became even more obvious at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when quality was thrust into the spotlight. These massive inconsistencies can lead to medical error and waste, negatively impacting patient outcomes and increasing operational costs for health care organizations. Aligning university curriculum with validated, real-world industry standards can help close that variability gap, according to Stephanie Mercado, NAHQ CEO and executive director.
“When it comes to health care quality competencies, a standardized education and training curriculum is a critical component of ensuring health care and quality professionals are ready to deliver on quality, especially in a post-COVID-19 environment,” Mercado said. “By working closely with academic institutions such as George Washington University, NAHQ helps health care professionals enter or advance within the workforce more prepared to confront today’s health care challenges. GW Nursing’s commitment to excellence has been proven by Master’s-level courses such as Advancing Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, and NAHQ is honored to partner with an academic leader in this field.”
The collaboration was a natural fit. Both GW Nursing and NAHQ believe the key to reducing variability in health care delivery is the reduction of variability in health care quality competencies, and both organizations arm individuals with the tools needed to deliver value and better patient outcomes.
“The mission of the GW School of Nursing has been, and continues to be, to prepare leaders and providers to improve the health of all people, compelled by the belief that all people deserve quality health care,” said GW Nursing Dean Pamela Jeffries. “We value collaborating with others who are also leaders in the field committed to increasing the knowledge, skill and competencies of our future health care practitioners. Our collaboration with NAHQ is consistent with this and will support the advancement of our health care quality and patient safety academic programming. Our goal is to ensure that our students are highly competent practitioners supporting individuals, populations and the organizations where they are employed to reduce the variation in care and meet national evidence-based standards of care to achieve benchmark quality outcomes.”