Patient safety has become an integral part of all processes in healthcare delivery. It is at the core of any treatment given to a patient in the hospital. Clinicians, nursing staff, administrators equally understand the importance of patient safety.
However, all hospital leaders will agree that it takes a long time in ensuring that patient safety practices become second nature to staff providing patient care, especially when it is their first job. The percentage of errors caused by new hires and fresh graduates is rather high. One of the key reasons for this could be that patient safety as a concept is introduced to the staff only when they have started on their job.
There are very few medical colleges and nursing institutions across the country that stress upon patient safety practices while students are still preparing themselves for a career in healthcare. This means that while patient care processes come naturally to them after three or five years of education, patient safety practices have still to be learned once on the job.Combine this with a new environment, the stress and anxiety of doing a new job, and they are at a very high risk of making an error.
However if Patient Safety practices are introduced into the curriculum at a very early stage in medical and nursing education, by the time these young individuals complete their education, safety practices would become second nature to them. The practices of healthcare learnt by the students in medical and nursing college can get very deeply entrenched and carry them further through the years. So, it’s very essential that the right practices and safety methods are taught at a very early stage. This is one of the reasons why medical and nursing institutions adopted by hospitals try to imbibe safety culture in the students at a very early stage. This will help prepare health care providers of the future to adhere to safety practices at all times. But there are very few such institutions that receive patient safety insights from hospitals and a large number of them still only focus on core clinical skills without any emphasis on safety practices. This not only create risks in future medical practice but it also sets these individuals up for mistakes that they would need to learn from, leaving them with the emotional burden of some of these mistakes. Would it not be better to teach patient safety practices early in education to develop the right attitude among the future healthcare providers?