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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Interdisciplinary Teams Solve Real-World Clinical Problems

Colleagues work together to improve client care

Anschutz Medical Campus
University of Colorado Hospital

“Quality and safety are no longer extraneous in healthcare.  They are core considerations,” says Gail Armstrong, DNP, ACNS-BC, RN, CNE.  

Since many current practitioners aren’t trained in quality and safety competencies, key players throughout the Anschutz Medical Campus created the Institute for Healthcare Quality, Safety and Efficiency (IHQSE) to address this need. The IHQSE is a partnership between the College of Nursing, School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado. The institute’s mission is to improve clinical outcomes and the patient experience across the campus’ multi-site care delivery system.

A certificate training program is one component of the IHQSE and commenced in January 2013. 

“Much of the Certificate Training Program (CTP) focuses on defining problems health professionals are currently having in the hospital setting, collecting and analyzing that data,” says Armstrong. “There is a direct impact on patient outcomes.”

 One unique aspect of the CTP is the interdisciplinary focus.  On the CTP faculty are individuals from different health disciplines who work with 11 interdisciplinary teams from the University of Colorado Hospital and Colorado Children’s Hospital. Those teams are comprised of nurses, pharmacists, doctors and other healthcare clinicians who come together to learn about leadership, healthcare operations and quality improvement, among other topics.  In this way, the program marries academicians and clinicians by helping clinician teams, led by faculty, solve real-world clinical problems in safety and quality competencies.

The teams gather for sessions for four hours twice a month for a year.  In between the sessions, the teams work on their quality improvement projects and meet with their faculty coaches.

As Armstrong says, “A patient experiences healthcare as an interdisciplinary phenomenon so the planning of healthcare should occur in an interdisciplinary way.”

Armstrong is the sole nurse on the faculty.