Designing Effective Healthcare Quality Improvement Training Programs

Nursing leaders have a wide range of professional roles and responsibilities and are less likely than other health professional trainees (such as medical residents) to receive formal training in quality improvement.

This study looked at nursing engagement in an Emory Healthcare quality improvement training program called “Leadership for Healthcare Improvement.” During the two-day program conducted nine times in 2008–2009, approximately 545 senior staff participated in the training, a quarter of whom were nurses.

Nursing leaders reported gains in quality improvement knowledge and the use of quality improvement tools after attending training programs. 

The investigators conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of 29 participants from the training program. They sought to assess participants’ experiences with the course, the information gained, and whether they would transfer it into clinical practice. They also analyzed pre- and post-course knowledge tests.

Nursing participants increased their knowledge of quality improvement. The most significant gain in knowledge was in their ability to write a proper quality improvement aim statement, followed by their ability to plan a Plan Do Study Act cycle. Almost all (93%) surveyed completed a quality improvement course project, although some expressed disappointment that they didn’t get sufficient feedback on it from their instructors.

Many nursing leaders with prior quality improvement training felt that the course improved their ability to teach others about quality improvement.