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CPSI Share                                                  
10/20/2016 4:00 AM

Since the Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course online program was introduced two years ago, more than 60 learners have enrolled and 31 have graduated from the program. To be certified as a Canadian Patient Safety Officer, learners complete eight modules in 100 hours of study, delivered entirely online using readings, videos, webinars, discussion forums, and hands-on project work, with expert faculty to provide support and feedback. Learners have 12 months to complete the program.

The learners represent a broad mix of those novice to the fields of patient safety and quality improvement, and those with considerable experience in both healthcare and in patient safety/improvement. Some have had ongoing formal roles and others are newly assuming those roles.

Three Faculty members, Kristi Chorney, Pauline MacDonald and Barb Saunders, support the learners along their journey. The Faculty act as facilitators and mentors to the learners, grading and providing feedback on their assignments. They also monitor the discussion board and will comment on the student's posts.

"The passion we see in our learners in trying to make a difference and increase patient safety in Canadian healthcare is clearly evident," says Kristi Chorney, CPSOC Facilitator. "Typically, this is something that they take on above and beyond their full-time work and the time and energy put into their assignments demonstrates that they are increasing their patient safety knowledge."

The Project Plans for final projects being submitted by the learners focus on a variety of clinical improvements (venous thromboembolism prophylaxis, falls prevention, sepsis), communication and teamwork improvements (safety briefings), and patient partnership initiatives (patient and family involvement in hazard identification). Some Project Plans correlate with Accreditation Canada required organizational practices (medication safety and handovers). The topics are well aligned with the current priorities in patient safety. 

"It is encouraging to see the Project Plans and how the learners are planning to apply new skills at the end of the program, says Kristi Chorney. "It is one thing to gain the knowledge, but it is another thing to translate that knowledge into action. That is what appears to be happening. "

The Discussion Forum has generated 19 pages of dialogue with interactions on everything from how to engage people to new approaches like positive deviance and how to use those types of tools.

"The interactions on the Discussion Forum have been excellent," says Pauline MacDonald. "Some learners dive right into the discussion forum and contribute new ideas. Their thoughtful questions and posts on the discussion forum reflect their commitment, journal their learnings and foster practical, collegial discussions."

Learners are saying that the course is very valuable and they are going to take what they learned back to their work environment in an effort to make change. They are giving the online program high marks for its content, resources and webinars. One participant says, "The course has provided me with the skills and tools to continue my work in the quality field. It is very well designed and relevant to today's healthcare practice and the assignments are great learning opportunities."

"Our learners are highly motivated and committed," says Barb Saunders. "They are genuinely concerned about the state of patient safety in healthcare generally and specifically within their organization. They seek opportunities to learn the theoretical concepts to increase their knowledge, as well as to acquire skills to strengthen the culture of patient safety, improve healthcare reliability, and lead sustainable improvements. They have a strong moral compass and strongly believe in, and advocate for, true patient and family partnerships."

The Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course is jointly developed and delivered by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and HealthCareCAN. For more information or to apply for the Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course online program, visit