Undergraduate Quality and Safety Education

The CEC established a project to explore ways of delivering quality and safety education to NSW medical students. This project was subsequently broadened to include Nursing and Allied Health Schools.

The principles of quality and safety and role modelling safe behaviour now receive some emphasis as part of postgraduate training in medicine, nursing and allied health.

Overview

Through the work of the Clinical Excellence Commission and other bodies, the principles of quality and safety and the role modelling safe behaviour now receives some emphasis as part of postgraduate training in medicine, nursing and allied health. However, there is surprisingly little of this type of teaching in the undergraduate years.

In January 2009 the CEC established a project to explore ways of delivering quality and safety education to New South Wales medical students. This project was subsequently broadened to include Nursing and Allied Health Schools.

Key achievements

  • A literature review of quality and safety teaching in undergraduate health courses in Australia and internationally. This included a review of the WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide for Medical Schools which will provide the basis for some of the modules to be used in the CEC undergraduate teaching program.
  • An audit of quality and safety teaching in New South Wales Medical, Nursing and Allied Health schools, followed by visits to key schools to discuss proposals for quality and safety teaching.
  • The organisation of a workshop: "Why wait until graduation? Teaching the principles of safe care in the undergraduate years" featuring Professor David Mayer and attended by clinical teachers from across the state.
  • Liaison with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to gain free access to their Open School, an on-line course in quality and safety designed specifically for students.
  • Broad interest from Medical, Nursing and Allied Health schools in working with them to provide quality of safety courses for their students.
  • Agreement with one medical school and one nursing school to deliver a modular quality and safety teaching course commencing in 2010. This will also include a teach the teacher component.

Future directions

  • Providing elective courses in Q&S for students in addition to the core Q&S program to be undertaken by all students. Emphasis would be on cross-disciplinary electives.
  • The establishment of a series post-graduate Fellowships in Quality and Safety as a way of providing the next generation of leaders in this field. This has already received support from GMCT and IMET.
  • Discussions with the learned Colleges to have quality and safety modules taught to undergraduates count towards postgraduate training.

Challenges

  • Obtaining teaching time in already overcrowded undergraduate curricula.
  • Providing teaching in a form which is interactive, exciting, stimulating and which encourages students to learn more about this field.
  • Securing funding for the Fellowship program.