Patient safety in an English pre-registration nursing curriculum

Nurse Educ Pract. 2008 Jul;8(4):239-48. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2007.09.003. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


This study explored patient safety in an English pre-registration nursing curriculum. The need to improve patient safety has been recognised as a key priority, both nationally and internationally. Education has a crucial role in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote patient safety. However, evidence about how patient safety is addressed in healthcare professional curricula and how organisations develop safe practitioners is limited. An organisational case study identified factors affecting patient safety educational provision. Content analysis revealed what aspects of patient safety featured in the formal pre-registration nursing curriculum. Interviews were conducted with students, lecturers and key education stakeholders from various levels of the educational organisation, to explore their perceptions of patient safety and its location in the curriculum and practice. Patient safety was not explicit in the formal curriculum, but was included in teaching. Students reported gaining most knowledge and experience from clinical practice. The organisational culture of both education and practice was characterised as defensive and closed, and as having an individual versus a systems approach. Findings suggest the need for clarification of the concept of patient safety, as well as revision of curricula and teaching, learning and assessment strategies in order to address patient safety explicitly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Competency-Based Education / methods
  • Competency-Based Education / standards
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / standards
  • England
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Culture
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Safety Management / standards