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Keywords:

  • education;
  • safety;
  • errors;
  • emergency medicine;
  • curriculum

Abstract. Graduate and postgraduate medical education currently teaches safety in patient care by instilling a deep sense of personal responsibility in student practitioners. To increase safety, medical education will have to begin to introduce new concepts from the “safety sciences,” without losing the advantages that the values of commitment and responsibility have gained. There are two related educational goals. First, we in emergency medicine (EM) must develop a group of safety-educated practitioners who can understand and implement safe practice innovations in their clinical settings, and will be instrumental in changing our professional culture. Second, EM must develop a group of teachers and researchers who can begin to deeply understand how safety is maintained in emergency care, develop solutions that will work in emergency department settings, and pass on those insights and innovations. The specifics of what should be taught are outlined briefly. Work is currently ongoing to identify more specifically the core content that should be included in educational programs on patient safety in emergency care. Finally, careful attention will have to be paid to the way in which these principles are taught. It seems unlikely that a series of readings and didactic lectures alone will be effective. The analysis of meaningful cases, perhaps supplemented by high-fidelity simulation, seems to hold promise for more successful education in patient safety.