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College of Graduate Nursing establishes The Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Chair for Nursing Quality and Safety

by Rodney Tanaka

November 4, 2011

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The College of Graduate Nursing is poised to become a leader in quality and safety education as the result of a $500,000 grant from The Fletcher Jones Foundation.

The grant will fund The Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Chair for Nursing Quality and Safety, which will be held by Jan Boller, PhD, RN, College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) Director, DNP Program, Health Systems Leadership, Associate Professor.

An endowed chair is a prestigious honor that is highly regarded in the nursing community, said College of Graduate Nursing Dean Karen Hanford, EdD, MSN, FNP.

“Safety and quality is front and center in national health care reform, and is a leadership requirement for all nurses,” she said. “I tell all of our incoming students that no matter what program they’re entering into, it’s their role to be a leader and their responsibility to assure patient quality and safety.”

Dr. Boller is a highly regarded nursing educator and has served as a leader for state and national nursing organizations. She served as project director for the white paper for Nursing Education Redesign for California at the California Institute for Nursing and Health Care, a nonprofit leadership group for nursing. The outcome of the yearlong project was to address how nursing education could better prepare students for the current environment.

“CGN needed Dr. Boller’s expertise, so I approached her and recruited her at the end of the white paper project,” Hanford said. “Part of our mission for the College of Graduate Nursing is preparing nurse leaders. By leveraging the visibility and the added resources from the endowed professorship, we’re looking to become a center of excellence for nursing in quality and safety.”

The endowed chair will put Dr. Boller in the national limelight, Hanford said. She will have the resources to travel and network nationally, write publications, seek grant funding and help recruit other faculty with expertise in quality and safety.

This funding comes at a good time to assist the College of Graduate Nursing in advancing the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine. The 1999 Institute of Medicine report, “To Err is Human,” estimated as many as 98,000 people die in hospitals as a result of medical errors that could have been prevented. This includes adverse drug effects, improper transfusions, wrong-site surgery and mistaken patient identities.

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine issued a report, “The Future of Nursing,” with recommendations calling for nurses to be full partners in advancing health outcomes in the U.S. by providing leadership in the area of quality and safety.

“The Fletcher Jones Foundation recognized nursing, because of the nature of nursing practice to be at the center of care, is in the perfect position to conduct education and research around safety and quality,” Dr. Boller said. “The work of quality and safety is done at the bedside of patients, at the point of care, where it needs to happen. We see nursing as leaders providing a safety net for patients in their care.

“The safety net involves interprofessional collaboration, as well,” Dr. Boller stated. “WesternU is uniquely positioned to receive grants in the area of quality and safety leadership because of our university’s culture and commitment to interprofessional education and practice.”

The Fletcher Jones Foundation is a valued supporter of the College of Graduate Nursing, having also provided grant funding for a high-fidelity mannequin. That initial grant led to donations from other organizations, allowing the college to build a comprehensive simulation skills lab.

The Fletcher Jones Foundation was established in 1969 by Fletcher Jones, Co-Founder of Computer Sciences Corporation, a global business technology company. Upon the untimely death of Fletcher Jones, the Foundation was endowed from his personal estate and is now governed by an independent Board of Trustees. The Foundation’s primary mission is support for private colleges and universities in California.

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