Ensure patient quality & safety
- $627/credit (39 credits total)
- No caps or waiting list
- Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
- Complete in as few as 20 months
- No GRE/GMAT required
- Program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Become a Leader in Patient Safety & Quality
Become an advocate for change and learn critical skills needed to implement a culture of safety with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Patient Safety and Quality online program from Southern New Hampshire University.
Based on the recommendations and findings defined by the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," the 13-course, 39-credit MSN Patient Safety and Quality program prepares nurses for their emerging roles and the rising demands within healthcare. The competencies defined in the IOM report include critical thinking/critical decision-making, communication, ethics, professional development, nursing technology and resource management, and much more.
The patient safety and quality program focuses on healthcare quality improvement, risk assessment, communication, legal issues and strategies that contribute to building a culture of safety and assuring accountability and reliability in care processes, among others.
Upon completion of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Patient Safety and Quality degree online program, you'll be prepared to make an impact in improving patient safety and quality of care.
Learn how to:
- Propose initiatives and technologies that facilitate decision-making for patient care
- Motivate change and drive improvement in healthcare
- Create health prevention and promotion initiatives
- Generate solutions for navigating quality and cost in healthcare excellence
- Advocate for policies and effective systems that meet the needs of consumers
- Build effective working relationships across organizations
- Develop continuous improvement of the patient care process
Interested in exploring some other online master's in nursing track options? We also offer an MSN generalist degree, as well as specialty tracks, including a master's in nursing education, as well as a Clinical Nurse Leader track.
In "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," the Institute of Medicine recommended that 80% of RNs achieve their BSN by 2020.1 In recent years, nurses all over the U.S. have excelled in answering the call – with 57% of RNs earning their BSN or higher, according to the Campaign for Action.2
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nurses with advanced skills and other medical and health services managers is projected to continue to grow 32% through 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.3 BLS specifically notes an aging baby-boom population as a factor in increased demand for healthcare services.
The global pandemic has also opened the door for major changes in healthcare. According to an article by U.S. News & World Report, the pandemic revealed problems with healthcare delivery across the country, from supply chain breakdowns to staff shortages and burnout.4 In order to solve these problems, healthcare leaders will need to rethink and implement systems that positively impact patient safety and quality care.
Top treatment centers – including ANCC Magnet hospitals – are actively looking for nurses with advanced degrees to take their patient care to the next level. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Patient Safety and Quality can expand your nursing career employment and leadership opportunities.
Start Your Journey Towards an Online Patient Safety & Quality Degree
Why SNHU For Your Nursing Patient Safety & Quality Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 12 graduate credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.5 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application and providing undergraduate transcripts.
MSN Admission Requirements:
- Must maintain an active unencumbered Registered Nurse license. Licensure exam must be equivalent to NCLEX-RN examination. (If a student holds active licenses in more than one state/jurisdiction all licenses must be unencumbered.)
- Must have an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program (ACEN, CCNE, and CNEA) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- Provisional acceptance may be extended to applicants with an undergraduate GPA between 2.67 and 2.99.
No BSN yet? No problem! SNHU also offers an online RN to MSN Accelerated Pathway for registered nurses who know they want to continue their education onto an MSN. The Accelerated Pathway saves eligible students up to $3,700 in tuition and 20 weeks of time.
SNHU nursing programs are not authorized in the state of Washington or U.S. territories, and we are not accepting students residing in Washington state or U.S. territories into nursing programs at this time. Currently enrolled students who move into the state of Washington or a U.S. territory will not be able to continue in nursing courses until they move out of the state of Washington or the U.S. territory. Prospective students are encouraged to contact an admission counselor, and current students should contact their academic advisor, for more information.
How to Apply
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process, which includes providing undergraduate transcripts.
Courses & Curriculum
The patient safety and quality online program can provide you with an advanced education focused on healthcare systems and processes that contribute to risk reduction, evidence-based practice, knowledge of the healthcare environment, leadership, accountability, professionalism and business skills.
Students enrolled in the MSN Generalist and MSN Patient Safety and Quality programs must comply with requirements of the healthcare organizations where their practicum experiences will be completed. At least one term in advance of the capstone course students will need to submit a letter of mentor support.
It is recommended, but not required that nursing students carry their own medical malpractice insurance. If an affiliation agreement is indicated, there may be additional requirements that may include (but are not limited to) criminal background checks and verification of licensure, immunization records, health insurance and medical malpractice insurance.
Students may incur additional costs to meet the healthcare organization requirements.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|MSN Patient Safety & Quality|
|Courses May Include|
|MSN in Patient Safety and Quality Online|
|IHP 501||Global Health and Diversity||This course provides students with broad foundation in the structure of healthcare delivery systems; the political, financial and social constructs affecting the healthcare systems; and how policy and social determinants of health influence access, equity and outcomes in health. Utilizing this foundation and authentic real world scenarios, students will evaluate the efficacy of existing policy and interventions as well as lead interdisciplinary teams in the design of culturally relevant strategies to prepare students to advance the health for a specific population.|
|IHP 525||Biostatistics||This course provides students with a basic foundation of biostatistics and its role in public health and health sciences. The course covers the statistical principles that govern the analysis of data in public health and health sciences. Included in this course are exploratory data analysis, probability theory, confidence interval testing, hypotheses testing, power and sample size determination, and multivariable methods.|
|IHP 604||Healthcare Quality and Improvement||Gain a broad view of US healthcare quality including its evolution and trajectory given the dynamic US healthcare landscape and changing demographics. Explore key concepts including the integration of health information and technologies to promote healthcare quality at the organizational level.|
|IHP 610||Health Policy and Law||Students in this course examine the role of health law and policy in the healthcare system. Students explore concepts and principles of law, public health, health law, health policy, finance, legal control, and risk management, as well as their application to the healthcare environment through the lens of the professional discipline. Students evaluate the impact of health law and policy and multicultural, socioeconomic, and political factors on access disparities. Students examine ways to articulate the needs of individuals, communities, and vulnerable populations to consumers, health system officials, and government officials. Students also focus on the opportunities for key stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, to shape health laws and policies.|
|IHP 630||Healthcare Finance and Reimbursement||This course provides an in-depth exploration of the healthcare reimbursement system and financial principles relevant to strategic planning for the healthcare organizations. Topics explored include the healthcare reimbursement system, managed care, prospective payment, insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, financial and managerial accounting principles, and long-term financing and capital investments.|
|IHP 640||Measurement, Analysis, & Models for Performance Improvement||This course examines the principles of measurement, analysis and models for performance improvement to promote continuous quality improvement. Design and data collection will be explored including sampling methodology, operational definitions, establishment of benchmarks, and data integrity and differentiating between structure, process and outcome measures. Topics for measurement and analysis examined include using statistics to describe data (e.g. mean, median, standard deviation); using statistical process control charts to identify trends and distinguish between common and special cause variation; using tools to evaluate a process or display data (e.g. fishbone, run charts, Pareto chart, control chart, etc.); and evaluating data to support decision-making. Students will also explore models for performance improvement including PDSA, Six Sigma and Lean. Nursing students who successfully complete the course with a B- or better will receive 45 indirect practice hours.|
|IHP 645||Regulatory Compliance, Accreditation and Promoting a Patient Safety Culture||This course explores the history of the patient safety movement, regulatory requirements and accreditation standards for healthcare organizations. Principles of patient safety and error science will include methods for risk assessment and safety improvement and analysis of errors through Serious Reportable Events, Root Cause Analysis and Failure Mode Effects Analysis. Students will be introduced to advanced communication strategies including group dynamics, power structures, team and team roles, hand-offs, chain-of-command, and error disclosure. Utilizing a systems thinking approach students will explore change management, collaborative practice, human factors, just and punitive cultures, and creating a high reliability organization through standardization of processes and transparency. Nursing students who successfully complete the course with a B- or better will receive 45 indirect practice hours.|
|IHP 670||Program Design, Planning and Evaluation||This course explores program design, planning and evaluation utilizing needs assessment, data analysis, resource allocation, and evaluation methodologies. This course provides the student with a strong foundation in the development of a program proposal.|
|NUR 506||Evidence-Based Practice||Graduate nursing students build upon previous learning of nursing research and evidence-based practice in order to become proficient in critiquing, generating, translating research evidence into practice, and disseminating results to advance nursing knowledge. Emphasis is placed on identifying a researchable practice question, analysis of research findings for evidence-based practice, and ethical issues in nursing research. Students demonstrate proficiency in selection of methodologies which may be used to generate research evidence for practice.|
|NUR 507||Transition to Graduate Nursing Practice||This course is designed to assist the registered nurse with a BSN degree to transition to graduate study in order to maximize their performance and opportunities for success. The course will cover such topics as the standards for scholarly writing, using evidence, study habits, and managing a graduate-level workload. The role of the Master's-prepared nurse as a clinical scholar, clinical expert and as leader in evidence-based practice and transformation of health care will be emphasized. The course will introduce the final capstone course and the development of a professional portfolio.|
|NUR 515||Advanced Nursing Concepts||In this course, students will analyze the history and evolution of nursing conceptual models and theories. Students examine the linkages between empirical, aesthetic, ethical, personal, and sociopolitical patterns of knowing with the conceptual models and paradigms of nursing. Students will explore the components of conceptual-theoretical-empirical structures for theory-generating, theory-testing research, and application to practice. Students who successfully complete the course (B- or better, course work & projects) will receive 45 indirect practice hours.|
|NUR 530||Systems Leadership and Collaborative Practice||This course provides students with the strategies and tools necessary for leadership roles in systems management and inter-professional practice. Ethical leadership concepts, analysis of diverse organizational systems across the healthcare continuum, change agency and communication skills are emphasized in the processes of coalition building, negotiating conflict, workforce planning and inter-professional team relationship building to produce quality patient outcomes. The course will enhance student ability to think systematically and develop comprehensive understanding of core competencies required to initiate and sustain change in organizations.|
|NUR 683||Patient Safety and Quality Capstone||Explore the MSN/Patient Safety & Quality role with an authentic demonstration of program outcomes and competencies. Students synthesize prior learning to implement a scholarly project to facilitate change in a healthcare setting of their choice. Analysis of the project's results and dissemination of findings in a comprehensive written summary and presentation complete the successful achievement of program outcomes.|
|Total Credits: 39|
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed Annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Students enrolled in MSN programs may be subject to ongoing licensure checks through a third party vendor, additional fees will apply and may vary by state.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an MSN in healthcare?
MSN stands for Master of Science in Nursing. An MSN is a graduate-level degree designed to help prepare registered nurses for success in an advanced healthcare role.
At SNHU, you can earn your online MSN in Patient Safety & Quality, or pursue one of our other specialty tracks: MSN Generalist, Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse Educator.
What is the nurse's role in patient safety?
Nurses are one of many healthcare professionals that play a role in patient safety and quality.
Patient safety is not one single person's responsibility – it's a systematic issue that requires effective leadership, teamwork and communication.
As nurse with an online MSN in Patient Safety & Quality, you can gain the skills you need to lead teams as they implement better patient care processes. Armed with these skills, you can help make healthcare settings safer in a number of ways – from preventing infection rates, establishing checks and balances to mitigate mistakes, and facilitating communication between staff, patients and their families.
Does having an MSN make you an NP?
This depends on your chosen track. MSN tracks can help prepare you for roles in leadership, administration, population health, nursing education, nurse practitioner and more.
If you're looking to pursue a nurse practitioner role, you'll need to seek tracks that align with nurse practitioner competencies and prepare you for nationally recognized nurse practitioner exams. After successfully passing an NP exam, you must then apply to your state board of nursing to become a practicing NP.
SNHU does not currently have an NP track. However, the MSN in Patient Safety & Quality can still help position you for a number of leadership roles in healthcare.
What is the relationship between healthcare quality and safety?
Healthcare quality and safety are very closely tied together. According to the Institute of Medicine, patient safety is "indistinguishable from the delivery of quality health care."6
Together, patient safety and quality are designed to reach desired outcomes, prevent error, learn from errors when they do occur and build a culture that prioritizes the well-being of all patients, professionals and organizations.
Why is patient safety and quality important?
The obvious answer is that better safety and quality measures lead to better care. Beyond that, the numbers indicating adverse harm in healthcare settings are staggering.
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) specifically noted that, in high-income countries, 1 in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care.7 This harm is reportedly caused by a range of adverse events, and nearly 50% of these cases are considered preventable.7
Consider, too, that this data predated the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent world events have further exposed the vulnerabilities of systems within healthcare – from staffing to supply chain to a host of other complex needs.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
SNHU has provided additional information for programs that educationally prepare students for professional licensure or certification. Learn more about what that means for your program on our licensure and certification disclosure page.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
1 Campaign for Action, Future of Nursing, on the internet, at https://campaignforaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Education-map-2018.pdf (viewed April 1, 2021)
2 National Center for Biotechnology Information, Assessing Progress on the Institute of Medicine Report The Future of Nursing, on the internet, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK350161/ (viewed April 1, 2021).
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (viewed April 1, 2021). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
4 U.S. News & World Report, What Does Covid-19 Mean for the Future of Health Care?, on the internet, at https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2020-11-16/what-does-covid-19-mean-for-the-future-of-health-care (viewed April 1, 2021).
5 According to a survey responses from over 9,200 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2019.
6 National Center for Biotechnology Information, Defining Patient Safety & Quality Care, on the internet, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2681/ (viewed April 1, 2021)
7 World Health Organization, 10 facts on patient safety, on the internet, at https://www.who.int/news-room/photo-story/photo-story-detail/10-facts-on-patient-safety (viewed April 1, 2021)