Graduate Certificate in Nursing Quality and Safety

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Home » Programs » Graduate Certificate in Nursing Quality and Safety

Elevate Your Nursing Qualifications to Advance Your Career.

Enhancing the quality of care in the field of nursing is vital to patient safety and integral to the advancement of quality healthcare for all. National University’s Nursing Quality and Safety postgraduate certificate is designed to offer graduate-level education to Registered Nurses (RN) focused on expanding their career options.

This career-focused certificate prepares nurses to assume a broader leadership role in risk management and quality and safety improvement within a healthcare organization. It also emphasizes the importance of actively participating in and leading interdisciplinary teams. In addition to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Graduate Essentials (2021), the specialization outcomes are based upon the Graduate-Level Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) Competencies: Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (2012).*

*Please note that National University is not affiliated with QSEN and cannot guarantee that this graduate certificate will provide all training necessary to pass a certification exam.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

Required Preparation

  • 4 courses; 12 quarter units

Patient safety focuses on the minimization of errors in treatment and the prevention of adverse effects associated with patient care. In this course, students will be introduced to relevant theories, principles, practices, and operational issues as they relate to patient safety and quality. Patient safety problems and high-risk contexts for error occurrence will be explored, and appropriate tools and evidence-based practices to address these issues will be determined. Students will also examine external drivers and policy initiatives related to quality and patient safety improvement in nursing, including accreditation, and performance. Through the utilization of error theory and systems thinking, as well as methods of risk assessment, students will be challenged to consider the roles of various stakeholders in patient safety. 

In the management of healthcare and nursing, the application and utilization of data are critical to achieving better healthcare outcomes and improvement. Nursing analytics encompasses the technology and skills utilized in data analysis and data visualization for enhanced decision-making.

In this course, you will be introduced to how data analytics is utilized in nursing quality and patient safety. You will re-visit Quality Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) principles for best patient outcomes. This course will provide an overview of data management for effective health systems evaluation and tools utilized for organization, analysis, and presentation of data. Understanding how to develop data collection plans that support continuous quality improvement will also be included.

The tools and techniques utilized for performance and process improvement help nurses identify inefficiencies, ineffective care, and preventable errors, and perform root cause analysis to identify gaps in best practice. In this course, you will explore various processes utilized for quality control and assurance to support performance improvement in the healthcare settings. Performance improvement tools and techniques explored during this course will include Root Cause Analysis (RCA), Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle, Lean Six Sigma, project management, and process mapping. You will gain an understanding of how to apply effective performance improvement tools in the role of a nurse leader in health systems management.

High reliability organizations (HRO) are organizations that operate in complex, high-hazard domains for extended periods without serious accidents or catastrophic failures. The nursing professional is instrumental in ensuring a culture of safety and continuous quality improvement exists within the HRO. In the role of a nursing quality professional, you will contribute to enhancing care delivery, optimizing value, and improving outcomes by leading activities that improve quality and patient safety. In this course, you will explore the nursing quality professional’s role and examine the necessary competencies and ethical standards required of today’s nursing quality professional. You will focus on collaboration with various healthcare stakeholders to assess and identify quality issues that may impact the healthcare organizations’ reputation, safety, security, and financial prosperity.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Appraise nursing leadership roles utilizing data assessment, quality processes, and improvement sciences. 
  • Recommend professional nursing practices using research and evidence-based practice models.
  • Prioritize accountability and responsibility in professional judgment, ethics, and actions. 
  • Optimize collaboration strategies to develop, participate, and lead interprofessional teams and partnerships.
  • Evaluate policies and economics related to healthcare delivery.
  • Integrate health promotion and prevention strategies to improve care of diverse populations.


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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.