Investigation of real incidents has been consistently identified by expert reviews and student surveys as a potentially valuable teaching resource for medical students. A new paper in BMC Medical Education by Vicki Tully, Douglas Murphy, Evie Fioratou, Arun Chaudhuri, James Shaw and Peter Davey describes how all final year students in Dundee MBChB learn about improvement through investigations of incidents that have been reported by staff in NHS Tayside. The programme began in 2011 in response to the Recommendations for Medicine in the Patient Safety Education Group’s 2009 report: Patient safety in health care professional educational curricula: examining the learning experience. Dundee students now do a Significant Event Analysis in General Practice in Year 4 and an Adverse Event report in Year 5, which is assessed with an adapted version of MERIT, the Mayo Evaluation of Reflection on Improvement Tool. Collaboration with the University of Dundee has enabled NHS Tayside to include MERIT in their Foundation Year Doctors Quality Improvement Programme, which was featured in the Chief Medical Officer’s report on Realistic Medicine Around Scotland.

Dundee MBChB has an integrated curriculum for Healthcare Improvement that begins in Year 1. In 2017 all Year 2 students gathered information about patient experience in outpatients for feedback to clinical teams. This development built on the experience of Year 3 students who volunteered to work with NHS Tayside on exploring and recording the patient experience in acute care.

NHS Tayside has a long track record of supporting individual students to lead improvement projectsthrough the IHI Improvement Practicum. However, the strength of the Academic Health Sciences Partnership in Taysideis truly demonstrated by the fact that front line clinical staff regularly support all of our students’ personal learning about improvement and demonstrate their commitment to organisational learning by receiving and acting on the information that the students collect.

This is the first of a series of posts about our Connected Curriculum for Healthcare Improvement that will enable students to:

  • move beyond being spoon fed information
  • develop their identity in communities of practice
  • cultivate ways of thinking and problem solving
  • develop as creative and transformative change agents that seek to better society
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