Master of Science in Nursing: Health Care Quality and Patient Safety Emphasis

Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Health Care Quality & Patient Safety

Offered By: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

Work Toward Potential Career Advancement in Health Care Quality and Patient Safety

Enhance your nursing education and position yourself to potentially take your career to the next level in health care quality and patient safety. Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is proud to offer this MSN degree for nurses who want to work to improve quality and patient safety within nursing. In this program, you’ll have the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge and skills to take on a wide range of roles within the health care field. From a clinician to a community advocate to a systems manager, you’ll wear many hats as you learn how to incorporate diverse concepts into cohesive solutions.

Earn Your MSN Degree From GCU

Our MSN: Health Care Quality and Patient Safety emphasis program covers research, collaboration, communication, data analysis, project management and much more. Along with honing important nursing leadership skills — such as clinical and organizational decision-making — you will focus on critical thinking, evidence-based research. You will examine how to improve health care systems and patient outcomes from all aspects.

GCU offers you the opportunity to complete this MSN degree online.1 Online learning may be a more practical choice for busy professionals with many obligations. As you complete your courses, you will have access to online learning resources and support that GCU provides.

As an on-campus student completing your master’s in nursing program at GCU, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of all the amenities, resources and support that we provide on campus students. If you prefer face-to-face interactions and in-person learning, completing your MSN on campus may be the right choice for you.

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Study Health Care Quality and Patient Safety Courses

Designed for nurses seeking to improve their knowledge and skills in the area of health care quality and patient safety, this master’s in nursing degree covers a variety of valuable coursework. You’ll focus on nationally recognized expectations and metrics for quality, examine different approaches to support quality improvement measures and learn about technologies that support clinical decision-making for patient safety. Throughout this master’s program, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore the quality improvement process and examine the most commonly used models and tools for improving health care quality
  • Evaluate methods to track, assess, analyze and review data relating to patient safety issues
  • Examine project management models and approaches in health care settings
  • Gain skills to identify various stakeholders and roles, set goals and expectations, plan stakeholder engagement and identify ways to mitigate obstacles in health care project management
  • Learn about the elements of change management, how to identify criteria for success in change areas and how to plan phases and goals for implementation
  • Learn how to implement health care quality and safety initiatives

Career Paths for MSN Graduates With a Health Care Quality and Patient Safety Focus

With this degree, you may become equipped to make a difference in the healthcare field. Specializing in quality and safety in nursing can prepare you for roles such as:

  • Quality and patient safety coordinator
  • Director of risk and quality
  • Director of nursing
  • Patient safety officer
  • Regional director of quality management
  • Vice president of care coordination
  • Chief nursing officer

Graduate With an MSN From an Accredited University

GCU has been institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1968. Our accreditation status reflects the quality of our instruction and our ability in reaching established educational standards.

For more information on the accreditation of nursing programs and other university approvals, please visit our University Accreditation and Regulations page.

Master of Science in Nursing: Health Care Quality and Patient Safety Emphasis FAQs

If you desire to advance your education and have the opportunity to become knowledgeable in healthcare quality and patient safety, read through some frequently asked questions and answers below to learn more about pursuing this career.

Quality care is measured in terms of how effective an organization is in achieving desired healthcare outcomes. Healthcare quality is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.2

Patient safety focuses on preventing harm to patients. This focuses on working to reduce the risk of negative occurrences through establishing a system of care that prevents error, learns from mistakes and is derived from healthcare professionals, organizations and patients that emphasize a safe culture.2

Healthcare quality and patient safety go hand in hand in the healthcare field to deliver and maintain safe, effective, quality care. Patient safety is one of the many desired outcomes of healthcare quality. Establishing and working to maintain patient safety increases the likelihood that a healthcare organization will be successful in achieving its healthcare quality measures.2

If you’re an experienced nurse who is seeking to position yourself for the possibility of career advancement or are looking to gain a deeper understanding of nursing in the patient safety and healthcare quality field, earning your MSN degree in this focus may be worth it for you. In your program, you will have the opportunity to gain relevant skills that are applicable to clinical settings. You will also explore theories, technologies, communication strategies and critical thinking skills that all relevant to pursuing a career in healthcare quality and patient safety.

To learn more about enrolling in GCU’s healthcare quality and patient safety emphasis MSN program, fill out the form on this page.


1 While all courses are completed online, you will need to attend clinical, practicum and immersion hours in person locally.

2 Mitchell, P. M. (n.d.). National Library of Medicine, Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Retrieved Oct. 27, 2023.

Total Credits: 36
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

36 credits
Degree Requirements:
36 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course examines nursing theory and the role of ethics for advanced registered nurses within the Christian worldview and through a leadership perspective focused on improving health care outcomes. Learners explore the moral/ethical responsibilities and legal and regulatory obligations of advanced registered nurses in health promotion and disease prevention. Learners also review evidence-based practice (EBP) literature and the research process with application to their program of study and learn to navigate scholarly EBP literature, resources, and guidelines.

Course Description

This course examines the role of leadership, organizational science, policy, and informatics in supporting safe, high-quality, cost-effective patient care within interprofessional, dynamic health care environments. Learners explore various organizational relationships within health care systems and prepare to participate in the design of cost-effective, innovative models of care delivery and practice change proposals. Professional leadership theories and how they shape the nurse leader in such things as collaboration, conflict resolution, decision-making, and negotiation are introduced. Learners discuss change management theories and evaluate the ethical, social, legal, economic, and political implications of practice change and health care informatics along with strategies for managing human, fiscal, and health care resources in a variety of organizational systems. Learners also examine the uses of patient-care, information systems, and communication technologies and discuss the design, implementation, and evaluation of electronic health record systems and clinical decision support systems.

Course Description

In this course learners examine the process of scientific inquiry, knowledge generation, utilization, and dissemination of evidence into advanced nursing practice in order to propose quality-improvement initiatives that advance the delivery of safe, high-quality care for patient populations. Learners critically evaluate evidence, including scientific findings from the biopsychosocial fields, epidemiology, biostatistics, genetics, and genomics, and apply levels of evidence and theoretical frameworks to design culturally appropriate clinical prevention interventions and population-based care that reduces risks, prevents disease, and promotes health and well-being. Learners also consider strategies to evaluate health policy and advocacy issues, the state of health care delivery, patient-centered care, and ethical principles related to health beliefs, health promotion, and risk reduction for diverse populations. Learners apply these strategies to work towards recognizing gaps in nursing and health care knowledge, identifying potential solutions or innovations for those gaps, planning and implementing practice changes, and evaluating the outcomes in order to improve practice. Prerequisites: NUR-513 and NUR-514.

Course Description

This course provides an opportunity for learners to complete their evidence-based practice (EBP) project proposal that addresses a problem, issue, or concern in their specialty area of professional practice. Learners previously identified a problem amenable to a research-based intervention, searched the literature, and proposed a solution. Now learners will explore implementation considerations and various evaluation methodologies, complete the project proposal by developing a plan to implement the solution into the intended practice area, and design an evaluation plan that will assess the EBP project proposal's intended outcome(s). Prerequisite: NUR-550.

Course Description

This course examines models of performance and quality improvement in health care. Learners differentiate measures of quality and learn to apply industry standard tools and process improvement methodology to enhance safety and positively impact patient outcomes and financial performance. Prerequisite: NUR-590.

Course Description

This course provides foundational knowledge that will equip learners to make decisions regarding quality improvement and patient safety. Learners explore the quality improvement process and examine the most commonly used models and tools for improving health care quality. Learners will also evaluate methods to track, assess, analyze, and review data relating to patient safety issues. Prerequisite: NUR-590 & NUR-630 or HCA-540.

Course Description

This course examines the models and approaches of project management in health care settings. Learners demonstrate understanding of the project management process and its application to health care quality and safety initiatives. Learners gain skills to identify various stakeholders and roles, set goals and expectations, plan stakeholder engagement, and identify ways to mitigate obstacles in health care project management. Prerequisite: HQS-610.

Course Description

This course examines components of implementing health care quality and safety initiatives. Learners examine the elements of change management, identify criteria for success in change areas, and plan phases and goals for implementation. Learners also consider change sustainability and dissemination of successful implementations. Prerequisite: HQS-620.

Course Description

This practicum course is the final synthesis of theoretical foundations of health care quality and patient safety and their application across health care settings. Emphasis is placed on issue identification, assessment and prioritization, project management, implementation, and evaluation. Learners also explore the application of communication methods, emotional intelligence, high reliability principles, and conflict resolution. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all previous coursework in the program.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.