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The Surgical Checklist: Educating Medical Students Today for a Safer Tomorrow

Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) developed the surgical safety checklist as the key component of the Second Global Patient Safety Challenge. We sought to increase the exposure and familiarity of third year medical students to this tool through educational modules and reflective evaluation of their experiences. 


Methods: The students completed a five-question pretest assessing their comfort and familiarity with surgical safety checklists.  Students completed the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School Modules PS100, PS101, and PS102.  At the end of the clerkship, the students completed a posttest assessing comfort and familiarity with the checklist.  Students also debriefed their checklist experiences with the clerkship director.


Results: There were 81 participants.  After the clerkship, 87% were familiar with the surgical safety checklist compared to 21% in the pretest group.  Only 51% of students had seen the checklist prevent harm or improve readiness compared to 97% after the supplement.  84% of students felt comfortable performing a timeout compared to 34% pretest.  97% felt they understood human factors in patient safety compared to 61% pretest.


Discussions: Following exposure to this curriculum supplement, our students report being more comfortable using a surgical checklist.  We anticipate they will have more familiarity with patient safety concepts during residency.


Keywords: Patient Safety/Medical Errors

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2017, Student, Clerkship Director, Patient Care, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, UME, Quality & Safety,

General Information

Student,Clerkship Director,
Patient Care,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Quality & Safety,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Jill Sutton, MD, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University; Keith Nelson, MD

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