Master of ScienceHealthcare Quality and Safety

The Front Gates of Jacksonville University's Arlington location.

Why Choose Our Program?

Become a high-quality patient-safety advocate in our Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety program. Conveniently offered in a 100% online format, our cutting-edge programming will teach you what it means to provide the highest-quality level of care and help you go on to transform the delivery of healthcare. Our program:

  • ​Offers a one-credit course waiver for HQS 533 for those students with a current CPHQ from NAHQ
  • Is home to the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Institute Regional Center
  • Hosts the IHI Open School Chapter at Jacksonville University

If you already have a master's degree, you might be interested in the post-graduate certificate in Healthcare Quality & Safety.

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SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE

JU's QSEN Regional Institute is excited to announce it will be offering two $2,500 scholarships to Master of Science in HQS candidates that have completed their applications for the Fall 2022 term. Once you have submitted your JU application, the scholarship application will be sent to you. Please apply by July 1 to be considered.

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Chat with the Chair PreviewA Day in the Life of an Healthcare Quality and Safety Director

Learn about what a day in the life of an HQS director is like from the Director of Quality, Patient Safety, and Performance Improvement at UF Health, with guest speaker Professor Susan Hendrickson.

Close the transcript.

Preview of Chat With the Chair event, featuring, guest speaker, Professor Susan Hendrickson

so when you ask me
like what does a typical day look like
so i thought about what i what did i do today
so today um you know i started my day of
course we start every day with
our senior leadership team and we meet
and we talk about
what's the census and how many Covid
patients do we have and how many events
and how many high flow and etc
so you start the day without kind of set
the tone for the day
you know where are we putting people in
beds because we've been extremely busy
we've had to open up a lot of overflow
units
we actually used our simulation center
we put med surg patients in there you
know we've done lots of different things
so that's the beginning of the day and
that's pretty much every day anymore
has been for a year now um so i moved
from there to our our weekly epi meeting which is a
meeting of infection prevention
we meet with microbiology
we meet with the id the infectious
disease physicians
we look at the statistics from the week
looking at things like you know what
kinds of bugs are in our hospital do we
have flu or c diff or mrsa do we have you
know Covid all of those things so we
look at all those data we look at the
micro reports we talk about if we have
any outbreaks what are we doing are we
working with the department of health
on certain things it may be the county
department it may be the florida
department of health
do we have any reportable events we meet
once a week and that was today
with that group also includes people
from pharmacy
and obviously micro so it's a
multi-disciplinary group we have some
nursing staff on there so following that
meeting
um we are in the middle of a root cause
analysis because we did have a serious
safety event a few weeks ago
so we've been doing a full investigation
on that and we're ready to do a report
out with the leadership
so we spent a good deal of our time
today really looking at what that you
know what did our root cause what did
our
what did our interviews um come up with
what did our what does our process map
look like where are the gaps what do our policies
say um
where are where are the issues what is
the root cause of this and how are we
going to present this on monday we're
scheduled to present out to leadership
so that we can begin looking at some
action plans
um then later today i actually met with
a patient experience vendor because we um
we obviously do patient experience
surveys and because my group does all
the data
we're responsible for that so we met
with her to just talk about some
strategies and different things that um
they're seeing and what we can do in
that space
um let's see what else did i do today um
you know in between i talked to staff
and did a lot of troubleshooting and
things like that so
that's kind of a typical day i did not
interface much today with my
accreditation team i have three people
that do accreditation monitoring and
they they monitor the standards they
audit
they do a lot of training and teaching i
talked to them earlier this week but not
today
but we will touch base next week we have
a regularly scheduled meeting
we're in the window for our joint
commission survey so we are
um front and center on making sure that
we are ready for joint commission it's
our three-year triennial
it's kind of a moving target right now
because you know cms and joint
commission they stopped doing surveys
and they started doing surveys they
weren't going to do virtual surveys and
they decided they would do virtual
surveys
we know that we are due so without
kobe i would say that they could walk
into our building in the morning
with covid we know that's not going to
happen because they are going to call us
ahead of time and they're going to ask
us
how many patients do you have how many
staff positives our ugf quarantine
because they want to make sure that
their staff is
that the joint commission staff is safe
and so they won't come
in unless they deem it safe so it's a
little bit different this year
because we kind of get a heads up
because they're going to call us so as
soon as they call us and start asking
all these questions we know they're
coming in the next couple of weeks or
they're not coming
that being said about two weeks ago they
did inform us that because
last year they spent most of the year
you know not doing surveys that they're
about 4 000 surveys behind
so my best guess is that they're not
going to be visiting us really soon
they're probably going to try and catch
up on those
we did have a survey a couple of weeks
ago we're a comprehensive stroke center
so we had a we used dnv
as our survey group for that not the
joint commission we used the joint
commission several years ago but
two years two years ago yeah this was
our second
survey with them so two years ago we
moved to dmv
we did have um that was a virtual survey
that was very interesting so we actually
we had a computer on wheels a
workstation on wheels
and they you know zoomed in so to speak
so they were on the computer and we
wheeled them around
and we said you know here's our
emergency department and here's our
stroke unit and here's
the staff and the staff came and talked
to them so that was a very interesting
um experience uh it was much more
controlled
of course we usually do very well in our
comprehensive stroke we used to do we
used to be primary stroke um our we have
two campuses
they were acute stroke ready and now
we've moved to comprehensive so we're
very well versed in stroke and we don't
really worry about that survey but
surveys are always nerve wracking so it
is interesting
when the surveyor is not on site and
they also got to review all of our data
ahead of time a lot of we don't normally
send data ahead of time they usually
come in and we show them all the books
in this case
we had to send all that and same thing
with joint commission
we're actually trying to prepare for
for both virtual and on the ground
because if it's virtual then we will
have to upload all sorts of files and
things to them
which is very complex so on one hand
we're working in case they call us and
say your virtual survey is coming up
next you know next thursday
um and so upload all these things today
we need to be ready for that um but then
at the same time we don't know if it's
going to be virtual
it could be in person and so we're
preparing in the normal way for that
so you know lots going on right now um
but that is sort of a day in the life i
love
my job i love my profession i am never
ever bored my days just fly by
um you know i get there in the morning
and it just seems like people are just
you know at my door and on my on my zoom
um with lots of fun and challenging
things
my favorite thing i think are things
like performance improvement and root
cause analysis because i
i like to investigate i like to ask i'm
always asking questions
even my family is annoyed at me most of
the time because i'm always saying well
why do they do that well why is that
it's just how i am
so that's my favorite part but i also
like really looking at the data
and understanding the data and trying to
understand why the data looks like it
does and those types of things
you know probably my least favorite part
is survey preparation
it's just you know it's not all that
exciting you have you know do you have
these policies are they in a book can
you find them
so that's probably my least favorite
part
what um kind of questions do you guys
have
so professor hendrickson you mentioned
about this
patient engagement is that like a
patient satisfaction
um yeah patient satisfaction survey
uh-huh yeah their satisfaction and
patient experience those are sort of
words we toss around
so you know we're really so on the
inpatient side we're really focused on
the um hcap survey which is you know
questions like did the um was i provided
information in a manner that i could
understand
you know those types of things as
opposed to did i like the food
so we're really trying to look at that
experience
did we communicate did the did the nurse
communicate with you did the physician
communicate in a way you could
understand those types of things
okay um i i mean i heard you mention it
but i've also
seen um from time to time actually jobs
that specialize in that so i thought
what
what do you do what kind of degree do
you get
to be a well patient engagement person
all
there are all sorts of people and in
fact um we will soon have that position
posted i just wrote the job description
well actually my director of quality
management and i
he did most of the work wrote the job
description and i said yes it looks
great that's what i love about my job my
directors do a lot of good work and i
say yep you did a great job
but but um that
person that we're looking for so when
you look at patient experience
there's a couple of different things
first of all you if you're on
a if you are required to submit data to
cms
um which a lot of places are not every
places but there are outpatient
requirements inpatient requirements
um ambulatory requirements are a little
bit different
there are so there are rules around that
so you have to understand those rules
thoroughly
and make sure everyone else understands
it so for example one of the rules that
we
are constantly running into this rule is
we
the hcap survey has to be the first
survey that the patient receives
so a lot of times on our nursing units
the nurse manager
and the nurses will you know be working
on something to improve patient
experience
and they'll want to know if their work
is you know resolving the issue
so they come up with this great idea
that we'll just do a little survey
and we'll walk around with ipads and
we'll ask the patient you know did you
did your nurse communicate well with you
those types of things
you can't do that because now you have
usurped
cms's rule which is their survey is
first and their survey is after
discharge so you got to know those rules
so one of the things those people have
to do is make sure everybody understands
the rules and be on the lookout for
people who are inadvertently breaking
the rules they don't mean to they're
really
trying to do the right thing so that's
one of the things um the second thing is
you've got to be able to display that
data
so the data you know you get these
surveys people say
they rate you they give you a score of
one to five or yes or no and then they
write comments
so that's got to be distilled down and
displayed in a manner that whoever you
are
giving the data to understands it and
obviously what you're going to tell a
physician
about their communication might be
different than what you tell a nurse
about their communication which is going
to be different
than how you relate is the the
cleanliness of the unit or the
or quietness of the environment so you
know we really
have to work with people to say one
presentation
is not good for all audiences and then
of course the performance improvement
work itself which is our scores are
lousy in whatever
whatever the area is so then drilling
down to say
okay well maybe the patient says
that it's not quiet so our overall
hospital score maybe says the
place is not quiet so then you've got to
drill down well is every place not quiet
or is it just a couple of units and then
what is not quiet
what does that even mean what does that
look like and then how do we
make that environment you know less
noisy to improve those scores so that's
a whole
lean six sigma performance improvement
project so we look for somebody or
several people it really depends um
right now i have one person
who's doing that and her um her
background is she has a master's in
healthcare administration
she's been doing performance improvement
for oh i don't know
six seven or eight years she did
data abstraction prior to that so she
she is a lean six sigma green belt she
has prior experience with data analytics
through her master's in health
administration and real life work
and now her focus is patient experience
so she can work in a lot of different
venues she chooses to work in patient
experience
that's where her work is and so um
and she's come by that really by default
because that's not her title
um and so that's why i have a position
now that i'm going to post that that
will be the one and on she juggles that
with a lot of other things that she does
in the performance improvement world so
i am now
pulling that into a succinct position
that one person
will do that and that'll be their sole
focus
now if somebody is a patient or a family
or something
and they're unhappy up on the unit right
now for whatever reason
would that person be i guess the
the recovery of service person to go up
and try to
you know address things before they get
discharged
so not in my facility because we're a
large facility
um however there are facilities where
that person would be that
the person in our in our hospital we're
large and we have a patient relations
department
and so they are like the component of
their we they're the complaint
department
and so a patient representative you can
call a patient relations advocate
and that person will come to your
bedside or you can relay it over the
phone or you can
type in an email to them and then they
will work on resolving your
issue when we get involved with that is
if it comes out now they may let us know
and we review the complaints so they
log all of the complaints into a file so
this person
has access to those complaints so that
we can see if there are trends in the
data if somebody you know if there are a
lot of complaints about the same thing
but they don't this person it right now
the way it's set up does not actively go
to that scene so to speak and then the
other part of that from the risk
side is if it turns into a grievance so
cms defines
complaints and grievances differently so
a complaint is something that can be
resolved by staff
on site so let's say that um
you know you're in your bed and your
food is cold and the nurse says
i'll get you a new tray so they've
resolved the issue that's a complaint
it's a done deal
but let's say that you say i'm in my bed
and i really don't like the way that my
care team is caring for me i'd like a
new team
i don't think the team is a good team
that is not as easy to be resolved now
you can work with the attending and the
team and maybe you can resolve that but
oftentimes that escalates into what's
called a grievance
in which case then that becomes a risk
management issue
and you have to follow all the cms rules
you have to respond in a certain amount
of time with a very specific format with
people signing
it's and giving the patient information
and then we have to resolve the issue
and continue to communicate in writing
to the patient so
it's kind of a different way and we work
very closely our risk department and our
patient relations department
work very closely together our goal is
to avoid
complaints becoming grievances although
sometimes
you know they don't complain in the
hospital and a week later we get a big
long
letter citing all their grievances and
we kind of working on the back end
unfortunately but that happens
right um one other question i was going
to ask is
many times i see the students you know
um and now antonio
great information is
some of the students in the program may
not
be in healthcare and so you know they
have concerns or wonder how can they get
that first step
into some kind of healthcare facility
and then build themselves
up into into these pro you know roles
so i have several people in my division
that i have hired that have
little or no health care experiences
it's kind of a
you've got to be the right person so for
instance
my my performance improvement
specialists
often in fact right now i don't have
any of them i'm trying to think i have
four of them
one is a master's in health
administration no two
one just got her masters in health
administration one has her master's in
health administration and
two have their masters in industrial
engineering
so um one of them came to me
she had she's an mha and she had been
managing
a physician clinic somewhere so
and then she took a lean six sigma
yellow belt class and she liked it and
she had a project so when she applied
for the job
although she had no acute care facility
experience
she could talk medical with me she
understood
physician relationships because she had
worked in a medic because she had
been a manager in a clinic in that
environment
the industrial engineer i really i took
a chance on him
and i said to him you know how are you
going to get up to speed
in medicine because you know nothing
about medicine he had been
doing this he but he had done a lot of
lean six sigma
performance improvement programs and he
basically convinced me in the interview
he could do it
and the way he did that is he told me
that he showed me several other jobs
that he had had
previous you know most recently and the
last couple he had had were completely
unrelated to one another
so his point was look i can go in with
my knowledge of how to improve
k how to improve a process and i can
learn the business
and apply it so i took a chance on him
he's working out great it's been real it
is challenging i can
know that he's challenged um you know
the first few weeks he was with us i
spent a lot of time with him
he i took him to all of our meetings i
said you just need to immerse yourself
in health care
and you know he had we use a lot of
acronyms right clabsi
caughty he's and so he and i would meet
and i would say to him
so what kind of acronyms do you did you
hear today
and do you know what that is and he was
doing a lot of google searches
and talking to people so he had made a
commitment that he was going to learn
this business and he is
so i wouldn't do that with everybody i
mean it just depends on the person
um if you just don't have anything and
no experience but he was able to show me
that he had transitioned from one
industry to another in the past
and he could do it again i have had
people that have not been able to make
the transition
it's very different in industrial
engineering i have another industrial
engineer
who works with us and he actually had
worked in health care but in a clerk
kind of clerk position but he had been
in there
and he had gone on and got his master's
in industrial engineering and
he loves health care and he enjoyed the
work that he
he had done and really felt committed to
joining um this
the medical center so and he's doing
great also but
we we had a couple of little um
challenges because
you know the performance improvement
work is a lot about
relationships and getting people to buy
into
doing the right thing and i'll never
forget he's you know i could sense after
the first month he was
he was frustrated and you know we sat
down we had a conversation about
that and he said well i don't really
understand susan he said i've got this
data
and it very clearly shows that this is
what the problem is and this is what we
need to do
and yet you are asking me to go to like
five meetings and present it to people
who just want to
shoot it down and tell me all the
reasons it's wrong but i know it's not
wrong
so i said well you know that's how
healthcare is you know healthcare
professionals
are um they're highly educated
they're very good at what they do and
they they're very um you know they're
intelligent they're knowledgeable and
they don't really like to be told what
to do
right so you've got to get them to buy
in you've got to
create this data and display it in a way
that they can buy
they can understand it and make it
relative to their work and convince them
and so you know like i said because he
was used to working in manufacturing in
different places where
you know the boss just goes down to the
shop floor and says well the the
engineers say you have to do it this way
so do it
well that's not how it works with
physicians and nurses and physical
therapists that's not
that's not the way they do business you
know they're independent professionals
so you just have to kind of work through
it but i have all sorts of people
working for me i have people with
bachelor's degrees and master's degrees
i have some nurses
like i said mhas i have four
physicians who are foreign trained
physicians and so they don't they're not
licensed to work in the state of florida
and they don't desire
to do that work anymore so they're doing
a lot of data analytics and reviews for
me
i have mpas masters in public health
that
they're great with data so and they're
also good at investigation because they
they're always looking for the
epidemiology of everything which is
really investigation that's all that is
so
it's a really good group of people have
right now

Return on InvestmentCareer Possibilities

Graduates of this program can go on to earn titles such as:

  • Chief Wellness Officer
  • Chief Quality Officer
  • Vice President of Quality
  • Performance Improvement Specialist
  • Risk Manager
  • Quality Analyst
  • Clinical Effectiveness
  • Infection Control
18%Job growth by 2026, U.S. Bureau of Labor (2018)
$122,539Median annual wage for a Chief Quality Officer, 2017
$64,770Median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, 2017.
Lorraine Mai, HQS student, standing in front of a presentation.

The thoughtfully selected faculty provided me with a well-rounded education, while I maintained my current job responsibilities. I am fully prepared to use my newly acquired knowledge to transition from classroom to bedside, inspiring positive change in others around me.

Laurie Mai, MSHQS(c), BSN, RN, ​Infection Preventionist, Mayo ClinicClass of 2021

AdmissionsHow to Apply

  • Completed JU application
  • Unofficial Transcripts for degree most recently conferred (undergraduate or graduate) with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0+ on a 4.0 scale
    • Additional Transcripts may be requested if you have completed less than 60 credits at your degree conferring institution
  • Students will need to have completed Statistics as a pre-requisite course before admission
  • Unencumbered background check to be completed by the start of the first semester
  • Resume / Curriculum Vitae
  • The following may be requested of students with a 3.0 or below
    • GRE/GMAT scores
    • Statement of Intent
    • Letters of Recommendation

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Contact Information Healthcare Quality and Safety

Phone: (904) 256-7000
Email: hqs@ju.edu

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