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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Patients as teachers: a randomised controlled trial on the use of personal stories of harm to raise awareness of patient safety for doctors in training.

Jha V, Buckley H, Gabe R, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2015;24(1):21-30.

In a 2010 report, patient safety was described as a critical unmet need in medical and nursing education. Formal curricula have emerged, but incorporating these ideals into trainees' practices remains challenging. This randomized controlled trial compared two educational strategies, patient narratives of health-related harm versus traditional faculty-delivered teaching, on the attitudes of physicians-in-training towards patient safety. Using the Attitude to Patient Safety Questionnaire, researchers found no differences in the two groups. Those learners who received patient narrative teaching demonstrated both stronger negative and positive reactions to the curriculum than those receiving traditional instruction. These results suggest that patient narratives alone are unlikely to change trainee physicians' attitudes toward patient safety. A past AHRQ WebM&M perspective discusses the role of graduate medical education in patient safety.