Introducing patient safety to undergraduate medical students--a pilot program delivered by health care administrators

Med Teach. 2010;32(12):e547-51. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2010.528810.


Background: Identifying informed and interested staff to teach patient safety can be difficult. We report our experiences with a lecture-based program on patient safety delivered by health care administrators.

Method: A self-administered questionnaire survey on patient safety culture was given to 130 third-year medical students before ('pre-test') and at 3 months after ('post-test') the program. The latter consisted of two 60-minute whole-class lectures using contemporary medical incidents in this locality as illustrative cases.

Results: Thirteen of the 23 questionnaire items (56.5%) showed statistically significant changes at the post-test. Students became more appreciative of the notions that errors were inevitable, and that disciplinary actions and 'being more careful' may not be the most effective strategies for the prevention of error. Issues concerning error reporting were more resistant to our educational intervention. Students regarded patient safety as an important topic that should be included in undergraduate teaching and professional examinations.

Conclusion: The implementation of a patient safety curriculum should be tailored to an institution's needs, limitations, and culture. Health care administrators were found to be effective faculties. A brief lecture-based program could be integrated readily into an existing curriculum, and was found to produce at least short-term, positive changes.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Health Facility Administrators*
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Pilot Projects
  • Safety Management*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires