The role of hidden curriculum in teaching pharmacy students about patient safety

Am J Pharm Educ. 2011 Sep 10;75(7):143. doi: 10.5688/ajpe757143.


Objective: To examine how hidden and informal curricula shaped pharmacy students' learning about patient safety.

Methods: A preliminary study exploring planned patient safety content in pharmacy curricula at 3 UK schools of pharmacy was conducted. In-depth case studies were then carried out at 2 schools of pharmacy to examine patient safety education as delivered.

Results: Informal learning from teaching practitioners was assigned high levels of credibility by the students, indicating the importance of role models in practice. Students felt that the hidden lessons received in the form of voluntary work experience compensated for limited practice exposure and elements of patient safety not adequately addressed in the formal curriculum, such as learning about safe systems, errors, and professionalism.

Conclusions: Patient safety is a multifaceted concept and the findings from this study highlight the importance of pharmacy students learning in a variety of settings to gain an appreciation of these different facets.

Keywords: curriculum; patient safety; pharmacy education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Pharmacy / methods*
  • Education, Pharmacy / standards
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Patient Safety*
  • Schools, Pharmacy*
  • Students, Pharmacy*