Through Nurses’ Hands: New Center to Improve Health Care Worldwide
School of Nursing, The Well
The Old Well on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. April 8, 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
Carolina Nursing’s new WHO/PAHO designation for nursing and midwifery education will improve care for mothers and babies.
Nurses and midwives around the world will deliver babies and care for mothers through safer and higher quality care, thanks to the UNC School of Nursing.
The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization recently designated the school as a Collaborating Center in Quality and Safety Education in Nursing and Midwifery. Joining the network of 45 designated centers enables the school to turn its groundbreaking standards of competency into training programs for the health care professionals who deliver most of the world’s babies — nurses and midwives.
“Almost all health care connections pass through the hands of nurses. Our lives often begin and end with the help of nurses’ hands,” said Marianne Baernholdt, associate dean for global initiatives. Baernholdt will direct the center with Nilda Peragallo Montano, the school’s dean and a professor.
Each center performs activities that address a specific area, Baernholdt said. “Our focus is quality and safety education for nursing and midwifery because that was an area that the other centers did not have.” Of the 45 centers, 16 are in the Americas including the United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and the West Indies.
Building on past work and faculty expertise
The center’s work aligns with the school’s distinction as the birthplace of the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses International Institute. The nursing community knows the school’s standards for competencies in quality and safety education, developed as QSEN in 2007 under former Dean Linda Cronenwett.
Carolina Nursing is home to world-renowned QSEN and simulation experts. “Their expertise is an integral part of any nursing education and prepares nurses to deliver the highest quality of care to patients. This new center will allow us to share that expertise with nurses throughout the Americas,” Baernholdt said.
Baernholdt said that the school’s QSEN expertise perfectly addresses the need for quality and safety education for nurses and midwives identified by WHO and PAHO. Faculty can begin immediately to work with the competencies, which have already been freely shared. The new training modules for nursing quality improvement and simulation will be available free in English and Spanish on the school’s website, and the school will publish relevant work in publications.
The competencies received national and international attention. From that effort, the QSEN Institute was formed. The institute is housed at Case Western Reserve University. Regional centers are at Carolina, University of Alabama and Jacksonville University.
“With Carolina as the birthplace of QSEN, it makes sense that our center’s focus is quality and safety education in nursing, including modules for the six QSEN competencies,” Baernholdt said.
The competencies are:
- patient-centered care,
- teamwork and collaboration with every team member caring for the patient and his or her family,
- evidence-based practice using the best evidence available,
- quality improvement through the necessary skills,
- safety or the ability to prevent unintended events and
- informatics or the ability to use health information technology such as electronic health records, devices and telemedicine to provide and improve care.
When the modules are complete, WHO and PAHO will host a launch meeting with the collaborating centers to begin reaching the world’s nursing and midwifery workforce.