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Nursing course revamps curriculum to focus on medical safety

By Lindsay Ireland
On February 27, 2013


Nursing professor Maureen Byrnes' Group Dynamics course curriculum received a facelift after the spring 2012 semester when a group of five nursing students made a presentation on Quality and Safety Education for Nurses.

The QSEN project was started in 2005 and aims "to address the challenge of preparing future nurses with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to continuously improve the quality and safety of the healthcare systems in which they work," according to

The Group Dynamics course focuses on teamwork and collaboration through small group work. Students are grouped together to accomplish a goal, but previous group project guidelines did not mandate the students have a nursing-related topic, according to Shana Kerr, one QSEN group member.

"One group did a marriage between Lil Wayne and Miley Cyrus," Kerr said.

Medical error causes 98 thousand deaths per year, according to QSEN statistics.

Five students, Kerr, Stephanie Negowetti, Patrice Foster, Emily Wanyoike and Indu Sethi, were stunned by this statistic and, in response, created a mock Seton Hall University Hospital website for their Group Dynamics project, according to Byrnes.

The site's "Safety First" tab gives the group's vision of how Seton Hall University Hospital should implement QSEN using a patient safety program. On this page, the group used videos and written biographies of real-life victims of medical error to help emotionally connect their audience with this issue, according to Negowetti.

Negowetti said the "Keep In Touch" tab shows the group's campaign to promote effective communication between nurses to minimize medical error using a detailed pre-surgery checklist, sanitization and a Nurse Swap program, where nurses going off-duty communicate patient needs before leaving with nurses coming on-duty.

Since the Fall 2013 semester, Byrnes said she mandated her Group Dynamics students to find a QSEN-related topic for their final presentations.

Byrnes said she believes that focusing on the importance of QSEN will change outcomes for patients.

 "It really needed to be heard. Always be alert," Kerr said.

Lindsay Ireland can be reached at

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