Award-winning workshop teaches medical students safe health care practice

19 Jul 2013

Learning how to prevent errors in health care will be a focus for 470 nurse, medical, pharmacy and optometry students at an award-winning workshop aimed at safe health care practice.

The Auckland University School of Medicine Quality & Safety 2013 Workshop will be held on 22 and 23 July, and opened by Associate Minister of Health Hon Todd McClay.

“Quality begins with how students are trained,” says Professor Alan Merry, Head of the Auckland University School of Medicine and Chair of the Health Quality & Safety Commission.

“The workshop teaches students how to better understand why things go wrong in health care and how to be safer in their practice.

“We know, for example, that students do not perform as well as they should when it comes to hand washing. Reducing infections picked up in hospitals and other health care settings is one of the priorities of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Open for better care campaign.

“The campaign aims to reduce harm caused by falls, healthcare associated infections, surgery and medication. Students at the workshop will learn more about the campaign and how they can improve patient safety.”

Every year the Health Quality & Safety Commission reports on serious and sentinel events that have occurred in the health system. The latest serious and sentinel events report, released in November 2012, showed DHBs reported 360 serious and sentinel events, that included 170 falls, 111 clinical management events, 18 medication errors and 17 suspected in-patient suicides. The 2013 report will be released in November.

Prof Merry says anonymised details of adverse events will be included in the workshop so students can focus on real examples to drive improvement.

“This is a highly innovative programme that has received a Teaching Excellence award. Students train together in the teams they will later work in. They analyse the cause of serious and sentinel events that have actually occurred.”

Prof Merry says while there is commitment to improving patient safety being made across the health sector, and evidence of good results in some areas such as reducing falls and bloodstream infections, more work is needed to improve patient safety and the quality of the patient experience.

“This workshop will bring the importance of patient safety and quality care to the fore of students’ minds, right from the start of their careers.”

To find out more about the Open for better care campaign, go to

Last updated 23/07/2013