School of Nursing creates two new master's programs

By Jenna Rossiter | December 4, 2016 6:41pm


Susan Stillwell is the dean of the master's programs at University of Portland's School of Nursing.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

The School of Nursing master’s program is expanding its Master of Science degree options at the University of Portland to include an Innovation in Health Systems and Quality and Safety in Health Systems Program which will go into effect Fall of 2017.

Dean of the Nursing Master’s Program Susan Stillwell says she’s confident that the undergraduate nursing program develops strong leaders upon graduation, and the addition of the innovation in health systems master’s program will bring a new direction for nursing students beyond their first four years.

Nursing students will gain the education and experience for mid-level and above leadership positions, such as a nursing unit director, executive, or organizations with multi-systems, says Director of the Innovation in Health Systems program Barb Braband.

“Innovation, I think, is really a central concept because of the healthcare reform and all the changes in health care systems, organizations and performance,” said Braband. “We are reordering how we deliver healthcare and the trends are changing really quickly.”

The quality and safety in health systems program is the first in the western United States and is open to not only nursing students, but also health professionals. The goal of this new program, according to Director of Quality and Safety in Health Systems Joanne Olsen, is to produce reliable practitioners in the healthcare system.

Olsen said the need for education in quality and safety was sparked in 1999, when journalist Betsy Lehman died from complications of drug overdoses needed for chemotherapy. This particular instance started research investigating medical errors.

“The healthcare industry has been attempting to really produce incredible safe patient care,” Olsen said. “When you’re making changes and advancing, you need education in order to do that.”

Stillwell said the addition of these programs are also in response to the reform in many areas of education and the effort to increase all graduate programs.

Neither program will require taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission, the largest change to the Master’s of Science degree. The current Master of Science degree does still require the GRE, though this requirement may be phased out. The two programs are five semesters long, and conclude in the summer semester. Applications will be accepted starting Jan. 15.