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Leung GK, Ang SB, Lau TC, Neo HJ, Patil NG, Ti LK
Correspondence: Dr Gilberto KK Leung, firstname.lastname@example.org
INTRODUCTION Undergraduate education in medical schools plays an important role in promoting patient safety. Medical students from different backgrounds may have different perceptions and attitudes toward issues concerning safety. This study aimed to investigate whether patient safety cultures differed between students from two Asian countries, and if they did, to find out how they differed. This study also aimed to identify the educational needs of these students.
METHODS A voluntary, cross-sectional and self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted on 259 students from two medical schools – one in Hong Kong and the other in Singapore. None of the students had received any formal teaching on patient safety. We used a validated survey instrument, the Attitudes to Patient Safety Questionnaire III (APSQ-III), which was designed specifically for students and covered nine key factors of patient safety culture.
RESULTS Of the 259 students, 81 (31.3%) were from Hong Kong and 178 (68.7%) were from Singapore. The overall response rate was 66.4%. Significant differences between the two groups of students were found for two key factors – ‘patient safety training’, with Hong Kong students being more likely to report having received more of such training (p = 0.007); and ‘error reporting confidence’, which Singapore students reported having less of (p < 0.001). Both groups considered medical errors as inevitable, and that long working hours and professional incompetence were important causes of medical errors. The importance of patient involvement and team functioning were ranked relatively lower by the students.
CONCLUSION Students from different countries with no prior teaching on patient safety may differ in their baseline patient safety cultures and educational needs. Our findings serve as a reference for future longitudinal studies on the effects of different teaching and healthcare development programmes.
Keywords: curriculum, medical error, medical student, patient safety, survey
Singapore Med J 2013; 54(9): 501-505; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2013172
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