Patient safety instruction in US health professions education

Am J Pharm Educ. 2011 Oct 10;75(8):162. doi: 10.5688/ajpe758162.


Objective: To describe patient safety instruction in health professional curricula, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature from 1966 through 2010 was conducted using 6 databases and based on 3 search criteria: safety management, patient safety, and curriculum.

Results: One hundred fifty-four articles were identified and 23 met inclusion criteria. A variety of educational methods have been used in health profession curricula to promote patient safety including lectures, workshops, objective structured clinical examinations, standardized patients, simulation exercises, root cause analysis, quality assurance projects, and other interactive learning methods. The development of patient safety curricula has been primarily discipline-specific, with little interdisciplinary research found.

Conclusions: Safe, patient-centered care is directly influenced by the quality of education that healthcare professions students receive. From this literature review, research is needed to guide curricular change, specifically focusing on instructional methods and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Keywords: curriculum; health profession; medication safety; patient safety.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Education / standards*
  • Health Occupations / education*
  • Health Occupations / standards*
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • United States