Jennifer B. Soep, MD, Matthew C. Vitaska, ND, RN, Wendy Madigosky, MD, MSPH, Daniel Hyman, MD, MMM, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO
Background: Training the next generation of health professionals in principles of quality improvement (QI) and patient safety are essential to improving care delivery and decreasing preventable harm. However, students often do not receive formal training in this area. Training nurses and medical students together promotes collaboration and interprofessional learning. Objective: To develop, implement, evaluate and modify a QI curriculum for medical and nursing students that includes on-line modules, interprofessional didactic sessions and experiential learning. Methods: Medical students performing a sub-internship (sub-I) in general pediatrics and nursing students completing their senior integrated practicum (SIP) at The Children’s Hospital Denver completed a QI curriculum that consisted of two Institute for Healthcare Improvement on-line modules and two didactic sessions. Students obtained hands on experience gathering and analyzing data, and considering options for improvement for an ongoing hospital patient identification QI project. They performed a self-assessment of their knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) before and after completing the curriculum and completed a satisfaction survey. Results: Ten sub-I’s and 26 SIP students completed the QI curriculum. Collectively, the students gathered over 800 data points across 4 different measures relevant to promoting reliable use of patient identifiers. Students’ self-rated KSAs significantly improved after completing the curriculum. All of the students felt that their QI skills were advanced, that they were prepared to apply QI methods in their next clinical setting and were satisfied with the curriculum. Discussion: A QI curriculum was associated with a significant increase in the participants’ KSAs and high satisfaction ratings. Medical and nursing students were successfully incorporated into an ongoing hospital QI project to learn through an interprofessional, hands-on experience.