Developing nurse medication safety training in a health partnership in Mozambique using behavioural science

Eleanor Bull, Corina Mason, Fonseca Domingos Junior, Luana Vendramel Santos, Abigail Scott, Debo Ademokun, Zeferina Simiao, Wingi Manzungu, Fernando Francisco Joaquim, Sarah Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Globally, safe and effective medication administration relies on nurses being able to apply strong drug calculation skills in their real-life practice, in the face of stressors and distractions. These may be especially prevalent for nurses in low-income countries such as Mozambique and Continuing Professional Development post-registration may be important. This study aimed to 1) explore the initial impact of an international health partnership’s work to develop a drug calculation workshop for nurses in Beira, Mozambique and 2) reflect upon the role of health psychologists in helping educators apply behavioural science to the training content and evaluation.

Methods: In phase one, partners developed a training package, which was delivered to 87 Portuguese-speaking nurses. The partnership’s health psychologists coded the training’s behaviour change content and recommended enhancements to content and delivery. In phase two, the refined training, including an educational game, was delivered to 36 nurses in Mozambique and recoded by the health psychologists. Measures of participant confidence and intentions to make changes to healthcare practice were collected, as well as qualitative data through post-training questions and 12 short follow-up participant interviews.

Results: In phase one six BCTs were used during the didactic presentation. Most techniques targeted participants’ capability to calculate drug doses accurately; recommendations aimed to increase participants’ motivation and perceived opportunity, two other drivers of practice change. Phase two training included an extra seven BCTs, such as action planning and further skills practice. Participants reported high confidence before and after the training (p=0.25); intentions to use calculators to check drug calculations significantly increased (p=0.031). Qualitative data suggested the training was acceptable, enjoyable and led to practice changes, through improved capability, opportunity and motivation. Opportunity barriers to medication safety were highlighted.

Conclusions: Reporting and measuring medication errors and related outcomes is a complex challenge affecting global efforts to improve medication safety. Through strong partnership working, a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals including health psychologists developed, refined and begin to evaluate a locally-led drug calculation CPD workshop for nurses in a low-resource setting. Applying behavioural science helped to collect feasible evaluation data and hopefully improved impact and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobalization and Health
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017


  • Patient safety
  • behavioral medicine
  • behavioral sciences
  • drug dosage calculations
  • pharmacist
  • education, nursing, continuing
  • administration and dosage
  • medication errors
  • global health


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