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Integrating patient safety into health professionals’ curricula: a qualitative study of medical, nursing and pharmacy faculty perspectives
  1. Deborah Tregunno1,
  2. Liane Ginsburg2,
  3. Beth Clarke3,
  4. Peter Norton4
  1. 1School of Nursing, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Bridgepoint Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Family Medicine (Emeritus), University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Deborah Tregunno, School of Nursing, Queen's University, 92 Barrie Street, Kingston ON, Canada K7L 3N6; tregunno{at}


Background As efforts to integrate patient safety into health professional curricula increase, there is growing recognition that the rate of curricular change is very slow, and there is a shortage of research that addresses critical perspectives of faculty who are on the ‘front-lines’ of curricular innovation. This study reports on medical, nursing and pharmacy teaching faculty perspectives about factors that influence curricular integration and the preparation of safe practitioners.

Methods Qualitative methods were used to collect data from 20 faculty members (n=6 medical from three universities; n=6 pharmacy from two universities; n=8 nursing from four universities) engaged in medical, nursing and pharmacy education. Thematic analysis generated a comprehensive account of faculty perspectives.

Results Faculty perspectives on key challenges to safe practice vary across the three disciplines, and these different perspectives lead to different priorities for curricular innovation. Additionally, accreditation and regulatory requirements are driving curricular change in medicine and pharmacy. Key challenges exist for health professional students in clinical teaching environments where the culture of patient safety may thwart the preparation of safe practitioners.

Conclusions Patient safety curricular innovation depends on the interests of individual faculty members and the leveraging of accreditation and regulatory requirements. Building on existing curricular frameworks, opportunities now need to be created for faculty members to act as champions of curricular change, and patient safety educational opportunities need to be harmonises across all health professional training programmes. Faculty champions and practice setting leaders can collaborate to improve the culture of patient safety in clinical teaching and learning settings.

  • Patient safety
  • Nurses
  • Medical education
  • Continuing education, continuing professional development
  • Pharmacists

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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