Students must complete nine (9) courses for a total of 36 credit hours to earn the Master of Science in Patient Safety Leadership. Each course is four (4) credit hours. Courses must be taken in the order shown below.

PSL students typically take one course per eight-week term. The MS in Patient Safety Leadership degree can be earned online in 20 – 22 months if courses are taken in back-to-back terms.

Courses are delivered using online instruction that emphasizes self-directed learning and team collaboration. The courses integrate individual work, classroom interactions within the discussion boards, team discussions and reflections to promote active learning.

Students in the Master of Science in Patient Safety Leadership will take all courses listed below in the order as shown.

Students in the Graduate Certificate in Patient Safety, Error Science and Full Disclosure program will take PSL 401, PSL 402 and PSL 403 in the order as shown.

Note: Course offerings are subject to schedule change.

PSL 401: Patient Safety and Quality Care Improvement (4 hours)

Introduces students to relevant theory, content, tools and methods in the field of patient safety. Focuses on the historical concepts, demographic trends, and current issues of patient safety and quality care. Faculty will engage students through selected readings, presentations, interactive exercises and discussions. Students will explore techniques and best practice in improvement science, define quality and select/develop meaningful metrics to reflect organizational quality. Students will be introduced to the magnitude of the patient safety problem through facilitated discussions and demonstration of learning assignments and begin their exploration into the patient safety and quality care arena.

PSL 402: Error Science, Risk and Disclosure (4 hours)

Teaches error theory and systems thinking, as well as methods for risk assessment and patient safety improvement, including high risk contexts for error occurrence. Students will be introduced to what is currently known about effective methods for error disclosure. They will develop proficiency with patient safety risk assessment and improvement methods, principles of safe system design, apology and related patient safety priorities. Course includes an analysis of the legal issues prevalent in the current healthcare environment.

PSL 403: Communication and Collaboration (4 hours)

Introduces advanced communication strategies for patient safety success in the current and future healthcare systems. Topics include enhanced communication skills, individual and group design/presentation techniques, hand-off, chain of command, critical thinking strategies and skills, stress and time management and learning team dynamics. Challenges the learner to become a creative patient safety leader/problem-solver and to begin the process of personal transformation by questioning one’s assumptions and conventional patterns of thinking. Students will demonstrate characteristics of creative and critical thinking in individual and collaborative situations, as well as within process challenging and error-ridden situations. Students will also be challenged to consider the roles of varied healthcare stakeholders in building a safer healthcare system.

PSL 404: Organizational Leadership/Health Systems (4 hours)

Explores organization theory, culture and change specifically related to the healthcare system in the current medical error and quality improvement environment. Utilizes learning teams to explore and discuss historical and contemporary leadership theories. Examines in-depth the influence of leadership on the healthcare organization and focuses on the different functions of administration, management, and leadership specific to patient safety cultures. Exercises and discussions will engage students in critical thinking about current and potential future challenges in healthcare quality and leadership and the impact of leadership on the creation of a safety culture. Students will examine traditional organizational leadership styles, determine the positive and negative impacts on safe patient care and will design a leadership model of their own based upon best practices. Upon completion of this course, learners will be prepared to incorporate the values of effective leadership styles into their personal leadership plan specific to patient safety and quality management issues.

PSL 501: Healthcare Simulation, Team and Applied Leadership Principles (includes on-site residency in Illinois) (4 hours)

Applies program objectives and learned skills in an on-site residency employing an exercise in practical, professional leadership decision making. Focuses the learner on the challenges faced by leaders who must balance the needs of customers, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. Through course readings, presentations, hands-on exercises and team work, students obtain a level of mastery in the field of patient safety. Requires the learner to synthesize and integrate theory and practice and to apply them toward the development of recommended solutions for specific patient safety and quality situations found within the organization’s environment.

PSL 502: Health Sciences Research and Information Technology (4 hours)

Illustrates and demonstrates a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, such as profiles and data manipulation to prepare the learner to apply them to a variety of research questions. Content includes measurement, reliability and validity theory and assessment using correlation, internal consistency, factor analysis and others. Includes application in developing, analyzing and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. This course also includes a discussion of key ethical issues involved in conducting research with human subjects, including informed consent, confidentiality access and equity. Explores the impact of health information technology on safe medical care within and across institutions. Demonstrates and discusses principles of effective implementation. These topics will include the electronic medical records, e-prescribing, telemedicine and remote sites and electronic resource management. Students will continue the development of their capstone project during this course.

PSL 503: Economics, Policy and Environment (4 hours)

Analyzes accreditation and regulatory issues, federal and state constituents and laws and institutional and individual legal issues in relation to the patient safety movement. Reviews case laws and specific pieces of healthcare legislation with a focus on malpractice and claims. Examines the principles and theories of economics as they continue to evolve with a heightened focus on patient safety and quality outcomes. Explores in-depth the principles, models and practical methods for the economic evaluation of healthcare services and the role that federal, state and local governments play in the economics of healthcare. Key topics include budget management, grants, financial aid, expenditures and revenues, and the rising cost of healthcare. This course includes a focus on global economic policy analysis. Students will continue the development of their capstone project during this course.

PSL 504: Creating Human and System Change (4 hours)

Examines and synthesizes the concept of change and its impact on healthcare organizations. The students will be expected to use higher level critical thinking skills to assess current systems, and create effective change strategies for the implementation of process improvements, behavior change and facilitation of a culture of patient safety within organizations. Special focus is given to how to manage and lead change, counteract resistance to change and the politics and economics of change. Explores the dynamics of change and how it influences strategic planning of an institution. Students will be required to synthesize and use information and content from the prior courses to demonstrate competency in this course. Focus will be directed toward advancing public policy, quality improvement strategies and medical delivery models that improve the quality of healthcare. Students will continue the development of their capstone project during this course.

BHIS 534: Health Information Technology and Patient Safety (3 hours)

Provides an analytical examination of health information technology and its implications to patient safety with the purpose to improve the performance of health professionals and enhance patient safety.

PSL 594: Special Topics in Patient Safety Leadership: Quality Improvement (2 hours)

An introduction to the concepts, tools, methods, and techniques underlying process improvement and quality in health care.

PSL 597: Capstone Project (4 hours)

Provides the opportunity for the master’s candidate to demonstrate his/her ability to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills acquired from the master’s program. Students will be required to design, implement and evaluate the impact of a patient safety/quality care improvement project in a self-selected area of interest. The capstone project should demonstrate the student’s understanding, content synthesis, and application of the patient safety material learned during the program at an advanced level, as well as his/her ability to demonstrate effective leadership skills to satisfy the requirements for graduation. The PSL Educational Executive Committee (PSL EEC) and the student’s advisor will evaluate and make recommendations on all capstone project proposals before work is started to ensure that students have met both personal goals and program objectives. The capstone project begins during the on-site residency week. Students are placed in capstone project teams (4 – 5 students per team) during their on-site week and begin discussions on selection of their individual capstone project. Over the following academic year, students work collaboratively with other capstone project team members on their individual capstone projects. Capstone team members serve as mentors, teachers and assessors for each other as they design, develop, implement and assess their individual capstone projects. In this manner, “best-practice” ideas and applications across different projects and disciplines can be shared amongst team members. Capstone project work is also integrated into educational work completed in the final three required courses (501, 502 and 503). The capstone project will be presented following the completion of all coursework required for graduation and evaluated by the PSL EEC and the student’s advisor. Through the capstone project, students are expected to demonstrate leadership skills in as many objectives as possible.