May 26, 2010 | | Comments 0
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Bedside nurses encouraged to be patient safety champions

The University of Kansas Hospital (KUMED) in Kansas City, KS, has created a program to encourage nurse involvement in patient safety. The program, Quality Safety Investigators (QSI), is a way to improve bedside nurses’ involvement in championing quality and patient care. KUMED provides each nurse involved in the program with tools, resources, and training that focus on unit-specific initiatives.

Liz Carlton, RN, MSN, CCRN, director of quality, safety, and regulatory compliance, helped design the QSI program. Each unit has its own QSI who is able to dedicate time on initiatives specific to the unit. The QSI is also able to educate in a group setting on various topics that can include medication safety, handoffs, and hand hygiene.

Carlton emphasizes the philosophy that patients come first. And with KUMED applying for redesignation in October, it is important for nurses and staff members alike to remember this.

“They’re responsible for taking that back to their unit, partnering with their unit leadership, and really driving those initiatives that are happening on their unit,” Carlton says.

KUMED has 39 QSIs; those nurses who are interested in becoming QSIs must go through an application process. Once selected, their managers must also sign contracts stating that they support the QSIs in this journey. Some perks of becoming a QSI include scrub tops and going to outside conferences for additional training.

The program has given nurses the encouragement they need to become leaders and has also brought staff together throughout the whole organization. In addition, the program has also provided the opportunity for staff members to become mentors.


Does your facility have any type of nursing empowerment group such as the QSI program? If not, what other ways do you empower nurses?

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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