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Med Teach. 2012;34(11):946-54. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.714873. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Reflective learning in a patient safety course for final-year medical students.

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Department of Educational Development and Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Patient safety has become an important topic over the last decade and has also been increasingly implemented in the undergraduate curriculum. However, the best timing and method of teaching still remains to be decided.


To develop and evaluate a patient safety course for final-year students. The course is based on reflective learning and personal experiences to improve the transfer of theory into practice.


We performed a mixed method evaluation study of the course. An evaluation questionnaire and the number of completed incident report cards were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Focus groups, organized two and four weeks after the course, were analyzed using template analysis; the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) was used to interpret the results.


Students found the course overall instructive and reacted positively towards many elements of the course. Focus group analysis showed that an increase in knowledge about patient safety topics resulted in a change of attitudes towards these subjects and in an increase in awareness of patient safety. This influenced students' behavioral intention and their behavior.


A course based on students' personal experiences enables them to transfer theory on patient safety issues into their own practice and has an effect on their awareness, attitudes and behavior. This could have a large impact on their future role as resident.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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