Focus on Quality: Preparing Nurse Leaders to Improve Patient Care


Nurse leaders are driving improvements throughout our nation’s health care system and helping to elevate the issue of health care quality at organizations around the world. Nurse leaders who translate the national quality expectations into daily operations, who cultivate and sustain a culture of quality and continuous improvement, and who address policy matters are in demand.

The George Washington School of Nursing’s scientific approach to the curriculum, combined with its expertise in health care quality and policy distinguishes GW’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree offerings in the health care quality field of study from other schools. GW health care quality graduates are prepared to lead, innovate, and improve the safety and quality of patient care in all health care settings. Also, the school’s Washington, DC location places it at the doorstep of our country’s policy decision-makers, government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), think tanks, and other preeminent institutions.

“In my work, everything I do hinges on quality,” says Acieta Small, MSA, RN, NE-BC, who is earning a DNP in health care quality at GW. After several years as a nurse manager in hospital settings, Ms. Small took on a new challenge as the Director of Patient Care Services for a 110-bed facility in Philipsburg, NJ. Ms. Small also enrolled in the GW School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) health care quality field of study.

When looking for a health care quality DNP program, Ms. Small found that GW’s offering incorporates elements that are important to her, including systems analysis, strategic planning, program management and evaluation, and the opportunity and flexibility to do a capstone in her area of expertise, Ms. Small says.

GW’s DNP: Health Care Quality is an online option designed for working nurses. This degree prepares nurses for career opportunities in systems and policy analyses, performance measurement, project management, team and organizational leadership, operational and efficiency expertise, clinical indicator development, continuing education, research, and consultation.

“When you look at where we’re going with nursing, quality is where it’s at,” Ms. Small says. She has already seen her career benefit from her health care quality studies and is more comfortable discussing strategic planning, and how to approach that as she goes further on her leadership journey, Ms. Small says. She is also preparing to interview for senior level leadership positions for which she believes the DNP has been a catalyst.

During her studies, Ms. Small has appreciated that her professors integrated practical, tangible policy into the courses. She was familiar with the Institute of Medicine directives on quality but in her studies, “this program really brought this home,” she says.


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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