Interprofessional Curriculum in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

The described curriculum is designed to be used with health
professional students of all types who are brought together to review a
health care incident in which an adverse event occurred. We have used
this curriculum with nursing students (senior undergraduate students in
final semester), second year medical students, second year health
management students, and respiratory therapy students. After one
introductory session, all further work in this curriculum is conducted
in interprofessional small groups. We have typically assigned two
facilitators to each small group (ideally representing two different
health professions); however, this is intended to be student-led problem
based learning, and students are typically given as much control of the
learning process as possible. Working with students of other
professions, learners are asked to analyze the event and determine the
underlying root causes. They are then challenged to propose system
changes that might prevent similar events in the future. They are asked
to analyze the impact of proposed system changes, then choose one of the
changes for additional focus, designing an aim statement and metrics
for a proposed improvement project. At the end of the course, each small
group is asked to summarize their analysis of the assigned case to a
group of their peers (see attached PowerPoint template).

This curriculum has evolved over five years, gradually becoming more
successful. Elements that seem to engender success are: (1)
Problem-based learning format, (2) Minimizing lecture time and
maximizing small group time, (3) Requirement for presentation at the end
of the course, which helps to fully engage students in the process.
Challenges in delivery of this course include scheduling class time when
all learners can be present (requires planning 6 to 12 months in
advance), differences in levels of clinical experience among the
learners, and differing attitudes about patient safety that learners
bring into the sessions.