What are QSEN Competencies in Nursing?

What are the QSEN competencies?

The six QSEN competencies were created to help prepare and equip nurses with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to provide quality and safe care in the health systems in which they work. Incorporating specific QSEN competency statements delivers needed standardization across nursing education, licensing, and certification programs.

Why are QSEN competencies needed?

Health systems place priority on providing quality and safe patient care. Ensuring nurse competence and capability is a critical component of this. Since the meaning of “competent” is often dynamic ⁠— even from unit to unit within a health system ⁠— QSEN competencies can serve as a key standardization method for outlining nurse competence.

Wolters Kluwer Lippincott and Kahuna collaborate to enrich nursing competency development.

What are the six QSEN competencies?

The six QSEN competencies are

  1. Patient-Centered Care
  2. Teamwork and Collaboration
  3. Evidence-Based Practice
  4. Quality Improvement
  5. Safety
  6. Informatics

QSEN faculty and a National Advisory Board defined these quality and safety competencies for nursing using the Institute of Medicine Competencies. QSEN’s goal is to ensure nurses develop these knowledge, skills, and attitudes throughout their education, and continue to develop them while practicing or participating in continuing education programs.

Patient-Centered Care 

Acknowledge the patient as a partner in providing compassionate care and respect patient preferences, values, and needs.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Function effectively within the nursing profession, offering open communication and respect for optimal patient care.

Evidence-Based Practice

Employ the best current evidence, coupled with their clinical expertise and patient or family preferences and values, to offer quality healthcare.

Quality Improvement

Healthcare is always evolving. Use data to monitor patient outcomes and care methods to evaluate, test, and continuously improve the quality and safety of care in health systems.


Minimize the risk of harm to patients and providers through effective care and individual performance.


Use information and technology to communicate effectively, mitigate errors, and enable good decision-making.

How can you use the QSEN competency framework?

The QSEN competency framework is an important standardization tool in nurse education and training that can be deployed across the healthcare organization, even with multiple geographic locations. But while it creates a shared set of values and metrics, you still need a way to employ it at your sites efficiently and effectively. 

Let’s face it, the process of validating nurse competence is often overly complex. If you’re keeping track of that data with scattered checklists, folders, and Excel sheets, there’s a better way. Digitized competency management gives you complete visibility into your nursing staff’s skills, experiences, and capabilities so you can continuously offer safe and effective quality patient care.

Partner with a nursing competency management solution

As the healthcare environment grows in complexity with industry and regulatory changes, it’s key that you can see nurse competence and capability throughout your system. 

Kahuna’s competency management platform captures nursing skills and experience data and provides validated competency insights for better nursing competency testing, resource planning, development, onboarding and training, regulatory compliance, and patient care.

Our fit-for-purpose platform can handle complex competency frameworks for dynamic workflows and large, diverse user populations. With flexibility in configuring the system, NPDs and nurse educators appreciate the elimination of redundant and manual training processes and increased transparency of competence across the workforce. 

Kahuna validates nurse competence so your clinical staff can practice safely, consistently, and independently across the entire health system. 

Explore our nursing competency management solution and free up time to focus on patient care.

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