The University of Toronto Pharmacy program was one of five sites participating in a pilot to map the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) Safety Competencies to their curricula, which define a set of Interprofessional core competencies required by all front-line healthcare providers for the provision of safe patient care. The pilot included five pharmacy faculties, four medical faculties and four nursing faculties from colleges and universities across the country.
The University of Toronto was moving from an entry to practice Bachelor of Science Pharmacy (BScPhm) program to a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program that would expand their reach from a historic eight to 12 PharmD students to 240 students. Dr. Olavo Fernandes was appointed the Patient Safety Team Coordinator to help lead the mapping project for the Pharmacy faculty at the University of Toronto.
About three years ago, he took on the arduous task of aligning the six domains of the Safety Competencies for the pharmacy curriculum within individual years (year one, year two, year three and year four), as well as across those years to ensure optimal communication and alignment of the various people involved in teaching the courses and how they deliver the safety competencies across a number of teaching mediums, such as lectures, experiential education and professional practice labs.
Dr. Fernandes began the mapping project by first meeting with individual course coordinators (there were about 10 course coordinators for each year) to educate them on the Safety Competencies and look at their course outlines to determine where some of the enabling competencies that were already embedded or could be incorporated into their courses in the future.
“This was a great opportunity to look at the entire curricula to see how patient safety learning occurred and how we were aligned with the Safety Competencies,” says Dr. Fernandes, Clinical Director of Pharmacy, University Health Network and Assistant Professor (Status), University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. “By mapping our curricula to the Safety Competencies we were able to really understand and look at our strengths, but more importantly understand what our gaps were so that we could address those deficiencies and learn from other faculties across the country.”
By participating in the mapping pilot, Dr. Fernandes says that an added benefit has been learning about innovative ways of teaching and learning from other’s experiences. It has also created an enhanced dialogue and connections between the schools nationally to facilitate a network of champions who can talk about and share best practices.
As a result of what was learned during the mapping pilot, collectively all of the faculties (pharmacy, medicine and nursing) had gaps in Domain 6, Recognizing, Responding to, and Disclosing Adverse Events. To this end, the University of Toronto has incorporated a session on disclosing adverse events and best practices during one of their second-year lectures. Also, an Interprofessional medication safety half-day elective session has been developed where nursing, medical and pharmacy students can attend together to learn about disclosing adverse events.
“There are many different things you are trying to do with your curricula and so much information that you try to get into your program,” says Dr. Fernandes. “In the future, by proactively incorporating select core patient safety competencies into mandatory accreditation reviews, it will increase the chances of being incorporated and sustained. With the mapping exercise, faculties that go through an accreditation process now have a facilitated means to report their own analysis on how they measure up and demonstrate that they are authentically delivering safety competencies to learners and practitioners.”
The mapping software not only maps to the Safety Competencies, it also incorporates the ability to map curricula to profession-specific accreditation standards, education outcomes and national competencies. For pharmacy, the software enables separate mapping to the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada’s Education Outcomes for Entry-to-Practice Pharmacy programs.
“CPSI’s mapping software was a brilliant tool in the sense that we could now do this in a much more systematic way,” says Dr. Fernandes. “It makes it easy to do multiple pieces, like mapping courses for both Interprofessional competencies and Safety Competencies.
“Mapping allows for a meaningful self-analysis to understand the gaps and strengths in the delivery of skills, knowledge and to some degree fostering attitudes around patient safety along with a structured approach to understand what you need to do to improve,” says Dr. Fernandes.
As a next step, Dr. Fernandes would like to know what competencies are being incorporated and applied into practice. He says by prioritizing which of the domains are core and essential to be taught in the faculties, it forces us to think about what you are doing in real life, versus what is theoretical.