According to the National Patient Safety Foundation patient safety includes the prevention of healthcare errors and the elimination or mitigation of patient injury caused by them.  An increasingly important area of health research, Patient Safety is of vital importance to patients and healthcare providers alike. The sentinel report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 1999) for the first time quantified the impact of healthcare errors.  This report cited the figure of 98,000 as the number of patient lives lost from preventable medical errors annually. 

In response to this report, nursing leaders developed the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) out of which grew a set competencies for nursing education that related directly to patient safety knowledge, skills, and attitudes.  Today these competencies are woven throughout nursing school curricula to ensure that patient safety and quality is addressed across nursing school programs. 

Nurses, as one of the largest groups of healthcare providers have a unique vantage point and ability to effect change in the area of patient safety.  In preparing future nurses, schools of nursing and nursing educators have an important role to play in influencing the safe practices, and attitudes of the future nursing workforce.
The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies strives to effect change through our patient safety initiatives.  The main aims of this effort are to:  (a) provide high quality educational modalities to teach about patient safety and (b) research ways to improve the safety of healthcare systems. 

Patient Safety

Patient safety is now recognized globally, and has widespread awareness fostered by the World Health Organization’s Alliance for Patient Safety. Patient safety is defined as the prevention of errors and adverse events to patients associated with healthcare (WHO).  A culture where blame is limited, where systems thinking occurs, where there is transparency and accountability of actions, and where learning from mistakes is encouraged to promote patient safety. 


Healthcare simulation is the realistic imitation of healthcare encounters created for the purposes of teaching, or assessing healthcare students or healthcare providers in a safe environment.  Simulation also allows for a safe practice setting to be created to provide deliberate practice of a variety of technical and non-technical skills.  Simulation-based healthcare education may take the form of complex immersive scenarios for the purposes of teaching critical thinking, and non-technical skills such as communication and teamwork or more simple forms focused on teaching technical skills such as peripheral intravenous catheterization or intubation.  Encounters may include the use of task trainers (skills practice), high-fidelity mannequins (immersive scenarios), or standardized patients (non-technical skills, communication scenarios).  Encounters are followed by debriefings where participants are given the opportunity to discuss and reflect on their learning experience.  Often thought of as only a teaching modality, simulation may also be used for assessment purposes to ensure competency prior to actual patient care.  Competency or assessment based simulation encounters are followed by feedback given for the purposes of gaining mastery of a skill or set of skills. 

Nursing Education

Nursing education encompasses methods of teaching and evaluation of the knowledge, skills and professional competencies required for Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degree nurses. A variety of teaching methods are utilized in the classroom, lab, simulation, clinical, and online settings to meet learner’s diverse needs.  Each level prepares learners to care for individuals, families, groups, and communities in a variety of healthcare settings and across a multiplicity of care environments.  Care environments may include inpatient, outpatient, community, or research settings. 

Interprofessional Education

Interprofessional Education (IPE) refers to occasions when students from two or more professions in health and social care learn together during all or part of their professional training with the objective of objective of fostering a collaborative practice model.  IPE encourages students participating to learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and to improve health outcomes (WHO, 2010).  IPE fulfills the mission of preparing pre-licensure healthcare providers to work in collaborative teams once out in practice. 

Clinical Care

Clinical care is the nursing care of individual, families, groups and communities either in an effort to return them to a previous state of health, to maintain a current state of health, or to prevent deteriorations in health status.  Clinical care occurs across a variety of settings including; inpatient, outpatient, and community settings. 

Nursing Workforce

Nursing workforce has to do with the number, variety, and conditions of nurses working in healthcare.  Efforts in this area focus on the health and wellbeing of nurses who are working in healthcare settings, and the understanding of factors that contribute to or degrade the working conditions of nurses.