unite! Last week, the IHI Open School was at the QSEN conference with this
stylish professor of nursing, Marrudda Williams of Cypress College in
Last week, the IHI Open School was lucky enough to attend
the annual gathering of a group of nurse educators who are pioneering the teaching
of quality and safety skills in nursing curricula across the country.
The group, known as the Quality and Safety Education for
Nurses Institute (QSEN), was celebrating its 10th birthday. It was amazing to
be with so many brilliant, courageous leaders of their field in beautiful
downtown San Diego, where the overcast “June gloom” wasn’t enough to tamper the
spirits of the QSEN crowd. (The barking sea lions and a seagull feasting on our
leftover breakfast reminded me that, despite the chilly weather, I really had
flown coast-to-coast.) Here are five highlights from our three days.
a session on interprofessional teamwork, Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor
and Associate Dean at the University of Chapel Hill, shared a fun activity. She
told us to thumb wrestle with our neighbor, and for each pair to get as many
wins as possible in 15 seconds. What would you do? Well, my partner and I did
the usual thing — we tried to pin each other’s thumb down. But then Gwen
told us the trick. Don’t compete — cooperate! (If you take turns winning,
you’ll rack up the number of wins as fast as your thumbs are able.) Try this exercise out the next time you
need an icebreaker that offers a lesson on teamwork.
- Jane Barnsteiner, PhD, FAAN, Professor at the
University of Pennsylvania, said the biggest change in health care is the power
shift of patient-centeredness. “More and
more the people we work with are not horizontal, they’re vertical,” she
said. “And they don’t see themselves as patients. So we’re recognizing them as
the source of control.” When will we recognize that we should ask our patients
their goals, and then measure our performance on that? So the goal for a hip replacement
is no longer a surgery without complications and a discharge without
complications, but getting Mary Kate back on the golf course. She recommended
Angelina Jolie Pitt’s op-ed
on her mastectomy for more insight on this view.
you’ve heard of critical language and SBAR — Situation, Background, Assessment,
Recommendation (for more, check out PS 103: Teamwork and Communication).
Here’s another trick for communicating safely that I hadn’t heard before, from Professor
Gerry Altmiller of the College of New Jersey: CUS! You can use these phrases when you see a safety risk and want to
speak up with escalating alarm: “I’m Concerned,” “I’m Uncomfortable, “This
- Don’t miss JAMA’s recent issue about
professionalism and governance, in which many leaders in medicine say that
professional self-regulation is not enough to meet patients’ demands. Joanne
Disch, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor at the University of Minnesota, called it a “wake-up call” for all health care
professionals. “Consumers want more oversight,” she said.
- Linda Cronenwett, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor at
the University of Chapel Hill, reflected on the last 10 years of QSEN, framing
her retrospective with a beautiful poem, “The Seven of
Pentacles” by Marge Piercy. The poem
describes the thoughtful work of cultivating a garden, which Cronenwett compared
to the gradual growth of the quality and safety education movement: It takes careful
tending, faith in the invisible progress, and finally, after a long period of
uncertainty, the celebration of the harvest — a beautiful metaphor for
cultivating social change.
Thanks again to the folks at QSEN, and stay classy, San Diego!
--Stephanie Garry Garfunkel, IHI Open School Managing Editor