How QPSI changed the depth of my thinking around patient safety and improving care

After more than 20 years as a midwife, Beccy Percival decided it was time to take on a new challenge. With a wealth of healthcare experience but no A-levels to her name, she enrolled on a Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Masters course at Nottingham – and hasn’t looked back.
She explains how the opportunity shaped her view about how to deliver better and safer patient care in the NHS.



In 2016 I was looking for a new challenge. I had been in my role for over six years in the same hospital and needed a change. I had been unsuccessful at interview for a few different positions and had seen the Quality and Patient Safety Improvement (QPSI) Masters qualification at Nottingham during my job search.

I applied and started the course in September 2016. It was a new programme, and I was both nervous and excited. Could this make the difference I was looking for? Was I taking on too much? I didn’t have a degree, or A Levels, just 20+ years of midwifery experience. Was that enough?

I successfully completed the course as a part-time student over two years, funding the first year myself and the second with support from the Eastern Patient Safety Collaborative. It was just what I was looking for.

I was the first midwife on the course and as far as I’m aware, the first one to complete the programme. The modules were in bite-sized chunks of study which I found relatively easy to fit in with my family and working life. My fellow students were from across the NHS, anaesthetics, mental health, ambulance service, pharmacy, public health and commissioning. This helped me to broaden my thoughts around how we work together as a system. Maternity links in with many specialities.

The QPSI has changed the depth of my thinking around patient safety and improving care. It’s not simply seeing a problem and changing it. There is usually an in-depth reason why we, in the healthcare professions, do things the way we do, and it’s getting to the bottom of that.

The course has also supported my own belief that for healthcare to become safer, there needs to be trust across the professions, from board to ward, that we work collaboratively, and as a whole team.

With the start of a new year and the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, many challenges lie ahead of us in the NHS. I can look back and confidently say that the masters course has helped to shape my view that by working together, we can increase the quality of care and make it safer for more people.

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