Patient safety: Do nursing and medical curricula address this theme?

Ann Wakefield, Moira Attree, Isobel Braidman, Caroline Carlisle, Martin Johnson, Hannah Cooke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this literature review, we examine to what extent patient safety is addressed within medical and nursing curricula. Patient safety is the foundation of healthcare practice and education both in the UK and internationally. Recent research and policy initiatives have highlighted this issue. The paper highlights the significance of this topic as an aspect of study in its own right by examining not only the fiscal but also the human costs such events invite. In the United Kingdom patient safety issues feature prominently in the (Department of Health, 2000a. An organisation with a memory. The report of an expert group on learning from adverse events. The Stationery Office, London, Department of Health, 2000b. Handling complaints: monitoring the NHS complaints procedures (England, Financial year 1998-99). The Stationery Office, London.) policy documentation but this is not reflected within the formal curricula guidelines issued by the NMC and GMC. Yet if healthcare educational curricula were to recognise the value of learning from errors, such events could become part of a wider educational resource enabling both students and facilitators to prevent threats to patient safety. For this reason, the paper attempts to articulate why patient safety should be afforded greater prominence within medical and nursing curricula. We argue that learning how to manage errors effectively would enable trainee practitioners to improve patient care, reduce the burden on an overstretched health care system and engage in dynamic as opposed to defensive practice. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-340
    Number of pages7
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - May 2005


    • Adverse event
    • Educational curricula
    • Near miss
    • Patients safety


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