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CPSI Share                                                  
12/2/2012 5:00 PM

​​Interprofessional education in patient safety

In partnership with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), the Patient Safety Education Program – Canada (PSEP – Canada) held a session in Edmonton, Alberta in May 2012. The group included 46 healthcare educators and representatives from Alberta Health Services, to expand their patient safety skills and advance patient safety education within their respective organizations. The two and a half day educational event certifies members of interprofessional teams as patient safety trainers. 

Dr. Cheryl Pollard is an assistant professor in the Bachelor of Science Nursing Program at Grant MacEwan University. Dr. Pollard has an interest in patient safety in both her clinical and academic work and is always looking for ways to more tightly align patient safety issues within the curriculum.  Since being certified as a patient safety trainer, she has incorporated patient safety learning into the classes that she teaches, including: mental health (where they look at the incidence of medication errors within a mental health context and ways to analyze the system components that contributed to those errors); a nursing leadership class (sessions specifically related to incident analysis); systems thinking; support for patients that have experience an error and implications for staff that make those errors; and a fundamentals of nursing research class where they look at issues from a general context such as repeating patterns and  engaging students to look at research through a patient safety lens.

“This PSEP – Canada program combines a pedagogical component and a content component and most courses are not facilitated in that manner,” says Dr. Pollard.  “Being able to link some of those ideas is very useful.”

Martie Grant is an instructor in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at NAIT’s School of Health Sciences and is developing curriculum that integrates interprofessional education (IPE) where students from different program areas learn with, from and about one another to provide collaborative patient-centred care.  Martie is developing a 45-hour course to be delivered over 15 weeks to medical, dental and animal health students. Through curriculum mapping she has combined the Canadian Patient Safety Institute safety competencies and the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative (CIHC) competencies to create NAIT outcomes that demonstrate safe patient care.  The new program will be launched for the medical faculty in 2014, starting with Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Medical Laboratory Technology, Medical Radiologic Technology and Dental Technology. The following year the program will be rolled out to respiratory therapy and paramedic students. NAIT is also developing an online version of the course for combined laboratory XRAY and magnetic resonance imaging students.  

“When you are developing curriculum, you want a solid background and best practices behind the information,” says Martie Grant. “The PSEP – Canada program provides valuable educational tools such as techniques to communicate and different ways of working together that can be easily incorporated into our courses.”

Both Dr. Pollard and Martie Grant say that the toolkit provided to attendees at the end of the PSEP – Canada program provides an on-going wealth of information that can be tailored to deliver a message that fits your audience.  Dr. Pollard is using components of the toolkit to augment her teachings and Martie Grant is drawing on the information and incorporating it into the courses she is developing.

The Patient Safety Education Program – Canada, developed for interprofessional teams, focuses on applying human factors in the workplace, scientific methods for improving safety, organizational culture and dealing with change, understanding teamwork, moving beyond blame to systems thinking and how to teach and implement patient safety. To learn more about or to bring a PSEP – Canada program to your area, visit