Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) is bringing together nursing educators, clinicians and other stakeholders to improve quality and safety for patients.

CGN, in collaboration with The Health Workforce Initiative and the California Institute for Nursing & Healthcare, will hold a conference on Quality and Safety Education for Nurse Educators and Clinical Leaders at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Ontario, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.

The conference is at capacity with 200 registered guests, including clinical leaders from 27 hospitals and faculty from 30 colleges and universities. Several WesternU colleges and consumer advocates will also be represented.

Mary Foley, RN, PhD, and Karen Curtiss will give the keynote address, “Forging Collaborative Partnerships for Safety and Quality.” Foley is the director in the Center for Nursing Research and Innovation at the University of California, San Francisco and Education Director for the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes (CALNOC). Curtiss is the founder of the nonprofit CampaignZERO – Families for Patient Safety, and the author of “Safe & Sound in the Hospital: Must-Have Checklists and Tools for Your Loved One’s Care.”

Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Nursing professor and associate dean for academic affairs, and the co-PI for the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) national project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, served as course adviser and will give a video introduction.

The morning panel presentation centers on the efforts of four schools of nursing, and Kaiser Permanente, to improve quality and safety. The afternoon session begins with Dr. Tom Wolff, author of “The Power of Collaborative Solutions: Six Principles and Effective Tools for Building Healthy Communities,” leading a workshop on what true collaboration is all about as health professionals and consumers work together to improve health care safety and quality in their communities.

“As we move forward with quality and safety education, it will be much more collaborative across all of the health professions, as well as academia and service coming together, educating from the same curriculum,” said Jan Boller, PhD, RN, College of Graduate Nursing associate professor and Doctor of Nursing Practice Program director. “We’ll all be practicing consistent quality and safety core competencies, so that patients and families will benefit from health care professionals who are working better together to assure safety and quality.”

Participants will close the day by talking in work groups about future projects that will take a more collaborative approach to quality and safety education and practices, Boller said.

“We’re all in this together,” said College of Graduate Nursing Dean Karen Hanford, EdD, FNP. “We’re creating this forum so we can have a dialogue, share best practices, learn from each other, and find out what’s going on in our region so we can have more synergism in what we’re doing.”

A patient safety report released in 2011 gave mixed reviews to hospitals in the Inland Empire, with some performing well and others deemed below standard.

“What we’re hoping is that we can even the record,” Boller said. “There’s not going to be islands of brilliance and then areas that haven’t met the standards yet. We want to see consistent practices so that no matter where someone goes in the Inland Empire to get care, they will experience compassion and excellence.

“One of the key messages about collaboration is that it’s not a win-lose competition,” she added. “Everybody has to win when it comes to quality and safety. We have to collaborate with each other so that patients get the benefit of coordination and communication throughout their care.”

The conference is funded in part by grants from the Fletcher Jones Foundation and the CA Community College Economic and Workforce Development Program Grant at Golden West College. Additional sponsors include the WesternU Phi Alpha chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and the California Institute for Nursing & Health Care.

Boller is CGN’s The Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Chair for Nursing Quality and Safety. This conference will serve as a springboard for education, practice and research projects to advance health care safety and quality. One early goal of the endowment is to conduct a needs assessment in the community, including focus groups and surveys after the conference to determine the health care quality and safety priorities in the communities WesternU serves.

“This is a good way to bring in experts and advocates to engage in dialogue with those who are doing this work in the community, learn about current projects, and plan for future enhancements,” Boller said. “Our endowment should be able to help foster that kind of work.”