MANUSCRIPT: Evaluating the effectiveness of a peer-led education intervention to improve the patient safety attitudes of junior pharmacy students: a cross-sectional study using a latent growth curve modelling approach.
Despite the recognition that educating healthcare students in patient safety is essential, changing already full curricula can be challenging. Furthermore, institutions may lack the capacity and capability to deliver patient safety education, particularly from the start of professional practice studies. Using senior students as peer educators to deliver practice-based education can potentially overcome some of the contextual barriers in training junior students. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a peer-led patient safety education programme for junior pharmacy students.
A repeat cross-sectional design utilising a previously validated patient safety attitudinal survey was used to evaluate attitudes prior to, immediately after and 1 month after the delivery of a patient safety education programme. Latent growth curve (LGC) modelling was used to evaluate the change in attitudes of first-year students using second-year students as a comparator group.
Undergraduate university students in Sydney, Australia.
175 first-year and 140 second-year students enrolled in the Bachelor of Pharmacy programme at the University of Sydney.
An introductory patient safety programme was implemented into the first-year Bachelor of Pharmacy curriculum at the University of Sydney. The programme covered introductory patient safety topics including teamwork, communication skills, systems thinking and open disclosure. The programme consisted of 2 lectures, delivered by a senior academic, and a workshop delivered by trained final-year pharmacy students.
A full LGC model was constructed including the intervention as a non-time-dependent predictor of change (χ(2) (51)=164.070, root mean square error of approximation=0.084, comparative fit index=0.913, standardised root mean square=0.056). First-year students’ attitudes significantly improved as a result of the intervention, particularly in relation to internalising errors (p=0.010), questioning behaviours (p<0.001) and open disclosure (p=0.008).
Peer-led education is an effective method that can be adopted to improve junior pharmacy students’ attitudes towards patient safety.