Taking the Lead in Quality and Patient Safety

Taking the Lead in Quality and Patient Safety

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Learn why it was important for Immediate Past President Nancy Curdy to obtain an advanced degree in this area.

Healthcare quality professionals not only look for ways to improve outcomes in their organizations, they seek to grow and improve their own competencies or skills. Obtaining an advanced degree is one way for healthcare quality professionals to expand their knowledge and skills, and NAHQ’s recent academic partnerships make the goal more accessible and affordable. Not only are these programs recognizing the CPHQ for master’s credit, they are also giving tuition discounts for NAHQ members.

Immediate Past President Nancy Curdy, MSN MS-HQPS RN CPHQ CPPS, has always been committed to lifelong learning. After years as an ICU nurse and advanced practice nurse in critical care, she had the opportunity to immerse herself into healthcare quality. To set herself up for success, she wanted to build upon her CPHQ credential with master’s level training that would give her an even deeper understanding of the science of healthcare quality and patient safety. She knew she learned best in a live classroom setting and began researching programs. Her research led her to the program that best matched her learning style: Northwestern University’s Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety (HQPS). She graduated from the program in 2014.

Read on for more insights on Nancy’s journey toward earning her master’s degree in HQPS.

Why did you pursue an HQPS master’s?

The graduate level programs in healthcare quality have such significance for us because they show that healthcare quality is recognized as a profession with academic pathways. For me, it was important to pursue an advanced degree because I wanted to take my mastery of healthcare quality knowledge to another level, and develop a specific role in my workplace. I knew that a master’s degree would demonstrate my further command and preparedness in healthcare quality. It also helped me fulfill my personal goals of lifelong learning and career advancement.

How did the CPHQ help you prepare for the healthcare quality & patient safety master’s program at Northwestern?

Many of my classmates talked about the program being their first exposure to healthcare quality so having the CPHQ provided me with a well-established foundation of the profession. As soon as I began the program, I was ready to dive in and build on my foundational healthcare quality knowledge.

What appealed to you about Northwestern’s program?

Everyone has a unique learning style, and I benefit from being in a face-to-face, classroom setting where I can interact with my classmates and instructors, learn from their different perspectives, and then go back to my organization to apply what I have learned. The master’s program follows anexecutive format with interdisciplinary cohorts allowing one to learn from national thought leaders as faculty and also from students in other disciplines. I was impressed that Northwestern was the first academic organization to offer graduate level education in healthcare quality and patient safety. And, Northwestern now offers the first PhD program in healthcare quality and patient safety.

For more information about the Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, visit the NU website.

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