FOSTERING QUALITY IMPROVEMENT EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES IN UNDERGRADUTE NURSING CURRICULA: GRADUATES’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR FOR PRACTICE CHANGE
Sustaining quality improvement practices in health and social services continues to be an international challenge. Measuring longitudinal graduate outcomes of quality improvement (QI) education and practice from an undergraduate nursing programme in New Zealand (NZ) is the focus of this paper. This reports on two interlinking research projects that followed a major collaborative curriculum redevelopment initiative and the inclusion of QI in 2017. Changes included implementing new learning, teaching and assessments; followed by a research project to measure the students’ perceptions of this preparation at the conclusion of their transition to practice placement prior to registration and then again at the end of their first year of practice as registered nurses (RN’s). The research team found reports of QI practice change and positive outcomes following the initial study with Bachelor of Nursing students in their final year. Using a questionnaire design, graduate nurses (n=31) perceptions and practice experiences relating to their undergraduate QI education and if this was useful in their practice as beginning RN’s. Findings suggest that new graduates found their undergraduate (baseline knowledge) and subsequent workplace learning experiences supported them to engage with a range of QI tools and methods to improve patient/ outcomes and contribute positively to organisational performance. Yet barriers to engagement in QI were reported suggesting further improvements in undergraduate nursing and social science curricula are required to help students prepare to manage the competing challenges of workload, time, novice status, tiredness, and the impact of learning new role requirements as they transition to the workplace. Higher education academics, researchers and practice based educators and managers need to work collaboratively to improve learning in QI, and reduce barriers to ensure optimal health and social service sector outcomes.