A patient safety ‘Student Selected Component’ at the University of Dundee (UK)

Gillian Paterson, Jennifer Rossi, Sarah MacLean, Ross Dolan, Thomas Johnston, Dermot Linden, Stuart Arbuckle, Nora Lynch, Peter Davey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Eight medical students from the University of Dundee (UK) embarked on a four week ‘Student Selected Component’ (SSC) focussing on issues surrounding patient safety. The component was student-led with the students deciding on a range of projects, which would enhance their understanding of Patient Safety and their abilities in Quality Improvement, and which bore particular relevance to their future work as junior doctors. Before commencing the projects, the students all completed the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) basic certificate in ‘Quality Improvement and Patient Safety’.

    Projects: Five different projects were chosen, with certain aspects interlinking. The students designed an audit of oxygen prescribing practices and then implemented a PDSA (plan-dostudy-act) cycle of change to improve these practices, assessing its effectiveness. They used innovative technology to gather and analyze their data, using PDA devices. The usefulness of these devices in clinical practice was also assessed, and the students began to develop teaching resources for practical procedures which could be carried on such devices and used in the clinical setting. The students also developed and ran an inter-professional ‘Patient Safety Workshop’ with students from the School of Nursing, focussing on medication errors. With the help of colleagues from the School of Nursing, the students went on to create a website for the IHI Dundee Chapter, to allow future students access to Patient Safety teaching materials and information about ongoing Quality Improvement work happening in Tayside. Finally, students attended the meetings of the National Health Service (NHS) Tayside Modernisation and Development Team, in order to gain an insight into NHS management and its impact on clinical practice.

    Summary: This SSC helped the participating students gain key skills, complementing the outcomes described in the ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’ document (UK General Medical Council). Their awareness of Patient Safety in all areas of clinical practice was improved, and their abilities in inter-professional teamwork were enhanced. They also gained a greater understanding of the importance of research in the clinical environment and an understanding of how to link Quality Improvement to such research.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Skills
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


    • Patient safety
    • Education
    • SSC/SSM
    • Medical students
    • Quality improvement


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