Non-technical skills training to enhance patient safety

Clin Teach. 2013 Jun;10(3):170-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-498X.2012.00640.x.


Background: Patient safety is an increasingly recognised issue in health care. Systems-based and organisational methods of quality improvement, as well as education focusing on key clinical areas, are common, but there are few reports of educational interventions that focus on non-technical skills to address human factor sources of error. A flexible model for non-technical skills training for health care professionals has been designed based on the best available evidence, and with sound theoretical foundations.

Context: Educational sessions to improve non-technical skills in health care have been described before. The descriptions lack the details to allow educators to replicate and innovate further.

Innovation: A non-technical skills training course that can be delivered as either a half- or full-day intervention has been designed and delivered to a number of mixed groups of undergraduate medical students and doctors in postgraduate training. Participant satisfaction has been high and patient safety attitudes have improved post-intervention.

Implications: This non-technical skills educational intervention has been built on a sound evidence base, and is described so as to facilitate replication and dissemination. With the key themes laid out, clinical educators will be able to build interventions focused on numerous clinical issues that pay attention to human factor contributors to safety.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Students, Medical