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ISRN Nursing  2012 

How Baccalaureate Nursing Students Value an Interprofessional Patient Safety Course for Professional Development

DOI: 10.5402/2012/401358

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Abstract:

Nursing students need foundation knowledge and skills to keep patients safe in continuously changing health care environments. A gap exists in our knowledge of the value students place on interprofessional patient safety education. The purpose of this exploratory, mixed methods study was to understand nursing students’ attitudes about the value of an interprofessional patient safety course to their professional development and its role in health professions curricula. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from formative course performance measures, course evaluations, and interviews with six nursing students. The qualitative themes of awareness, ownership, and action emerged and triangulated with the descriptive quantitative results from student performance and course evaluations. Students placed high value on the course and essential nature of interprofessional patient safety content. These findings provide a first step toward integration of interprofessional patient safety education into nursing curricula and in meeting the Institute of Medicine’s goals for the nursing profession. 1. Introduction Despite a decade of focused national attention, health care delivery is not safer for patients across the nation [1]. Leaders in health care and policy collectively have called for preparing health care professionals who are able to effect patient care systems improvement through interprofessional collaboration in order to improve patient safety. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) [2] report “The Future of Nursing” emphasizes that “all health professionals should receive more of their education in concert with students from other disciplines.” Interprofessional team training of nurses, physicians, and other health care providers should begin when they are students and proceed throughout their careers. Interprofessional education is based on the premise that students who are more familiar with and respect one another’s roles and contributions to the interprofessional team are critical to realizing the full potential of nursing [3]. Additionally, interprofessional education fosters collaboration in the workplace and allows problem solving that exceeds the capacity of any one profession. Although the literature is growing in the nursing profession about courses/curriculum and professional formation in patient safety, nursing students in the United States continue to be educated in the context of discipline-specific activities rather than via an interdisciplinary systems approach [4, 5]. Educators continue to struggle on how to include interprofessional

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