A Scoping Review of Peer-Led Education in Patient Safety Training

By Walpola, Ramesh L.; McLachlan, Andrew J. et al. | American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, March 2018 | Go to article overview

A Scoping Review of Peer-Led Education in Patient Safety Training


Walpola, Ramesh L., McLachlan, Andrew J., Chen, Timothy F., American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


INTRODUCTION

Since 2002, the World Health Organization has recognized improving patient safety as a key global health priority. As defined by Vincent, patient safety is the "avoidance, prevention and amelioration of adverse outcomes or injuries stemming from the process of health care." (1) Education has been considered a fundamental strategy in improving patient safety in the health care setting. Since the late 1990s, higher education institutions have attempted to implement specific patient safety and quality improvement education as part of their health professional training programs. (2) However, making changes to established curricula can be challenging, especially when institutions lack resources and appropriate staff with experience or knowledge in patient safety science. (3) To address this global issue, the World Health Organization developed the Patient Safety Curriculum Guide for Medical Schools in 2009, which was based on the Australian National Patient Safety Education Framework. (2) Following testing, evaluation and adoption by medical schools globally, the curriculum guide was revised and re-released in 2011 as a multi-professional edition, in recognition of the important role of allied health disciplines in patient safety. (4)

To date, the delivery of patient safety education has centered on didactic methods of teaching, (2) and although this method is useful in increasing knowledge, it appears to be less effective in changing the attitudes and practices of students and health care professionals. As more systems-based approaches to managing errors in care have been adopted, so have the pedagogical methods in teaching students, graduates and health care professionals about safety and quality improvement. (5) Currently, a number of non-didactic pedagogical methods are beginning to be implemented in patient safety education in addition to more traditional didactic forms. Small group learning has been the most commonly used teaching model in patient safety education. (2,6) This is most likely due to it being a less resource-intensive method, with patient safety workshops, tutorials or problem-based learning cases easily inserted into existing curricula. Although this method is quite effective for use in a single discipline, it has been shown that multi-disciplinary small group workshops that are implemented toward the end of a health care professional degree program can be of greater benefit, particularly enabling better teamwork and communication. (7,8) However, implementing multi-disciplinary education, particularly at a senior student level, can be problematic due to the resource and logistic challenges it presents. (9)

Peer-led education is another non-didactic approach to learning that has been used in training health care professionals and students in a number of areas. (10,11) This approach has been both formally and informally adopted by many organizations as a method of teaching patient safety, overcoming the capacity, capability and resource issues that an institution may face in delivering patient safety specific education. Additionally, peer-led education programs have been shown to be beneficial in clinical education due to the peer environment providing a comfortable learning space, which can enhance the professional socialization of health care students. (11-13) Although a number of systematic reviews have been conducted that examine the use of peer-led education in health care student education, there has been no review to date that has specifically examined the use of peer-led education approaches in patient safety training. (11,14) Therefore, the aim of this scoping review was to examine the literature pertaining to the use of peer-led education as a method of training health care professionals and students in patient safety, with the specific objectives of evaluating who is receiving peer-led patient safety education, what content is taught, and how the education programs have been evaluated. …

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