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Selected topics in Quality and Patient Safety

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Learning outcome

The following learning outcomes will be achieved after completion of the course:
The PhD candidate will:
  • Possess advanced knowledge of quality and patient safety as a research field.
  • Possess advanced knowledge of relevant theoretical approaches and methods.

The PhD candidate can:
  • Apply relevant theoretical approaches and methods on selected quality and patient safety topics.
  • Critically analyze the relationship between micro, meso, and macro level factors and their influence on quality and patient safety.

General competence
The PhD candidate can:
  • Organize and present selected research literature on quality and patient safety and lead discussions in open seminars/groups.
  • Search for and apply research literature to analyze a self-selected research problem that can be developed into a scientific article.


The course addresses selected topics within quality and safety in healthcare and gives the PhD candidate in-depth knowledge and analytical skills at an advanced level. The course focuses on topics that are key to understanding and analyzing quality and patient safety together with influencing mechanisms at micro, meso, and macro levels. Examples of topics:
  • Regulation and inspection strategies
  • Handovers, care coordination, and safety culture
  • Simulation, training, and education
  • Teamwork and micro systems
  • Reporting and learning from adverse events
  • Improvement and improvement strategies
  • The role of patients
  • Resilience

Required prerequisite knowledge

Master level within medicine, health sciences, societal safety, social science, or similar educations.


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Individual paper1/1 Pass - Fail
List of self-selected literature (approx 500 pages) to be submitted together with the individual paper.

Coursework requirements

  • Presentation of scientific literature in open seminars/discussion groups.
  • Prepare a short abstract (approx 250 words) on the self-selected research topic to be addressed in the individual paper. Abstract should include background, topic, research problem/question, and plan for relevant literature searches. The abstract will be approved by the course coordinator.
  • List of self-selected literature of approx 500 pages relevant for the individual paper.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Siri Wiig , Karina Aase

Method of work

The working methods of the course will vary depending on research topics and number of participants. The methods will include supervision, scientific paper writing, presentation of scientific material, critique and defense. The course will be based on open seminars/discussion groups where the candidate(s) present(s) and lead(s) discussions related to the curriculum contents.

Open to

PhD candidates enrolled at the PhD programme in Health and Medicine, the PhD programme in Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, and other PhD candidates in Norway or abroad within similar scientific fields.

Course assessment

Early dialogue with the PhD candidates and submission of final electronic evaluation form according to UiS regulations.


Mandatory course curriculum:
Certain adjustments in the mandatory course curriculum can be made. Any adjustments will be published at Canvas at the start of the course.
Vincent, C. & Amalberti, R. (2016). Safer Healthcare. Strategies for the Real World. Springer Open, pp 1-157.
Hopkins, A. (2014). Issues in safety science. Safety Science, Vol 67, pp 6-14.
Weick, K.E., Sutcliffe, K.M. & Obstfeld, D. (1999). Organizing for High Reliability: Processes of Collective Mindfulness. In R.S. Sutton and B.M. Staw (eds), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol 1: 81-123. Stanford, Jai Press.
Sutcliffe, K. M. (2011). High reliability organizations (HROs). Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology 25:133-144.
Bourrier, M. (2011).The Legacy of the High Reliability Organization Project. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 19(1), March, pp 9-13.
Rasmussen, J. (1997). Risk Management in a dynamic society: A modelling problem. Safety Science, 27: 183-213.
Le Coze, J.C. (2015). Reflecting on Jens Rasmussen's legacy. A strong program for a hard problem. Safety Science, 71 Part B: 123-141.
Catino, M. (2008). A review of Literature: Individual Blame vs. Organizational Function Logics in Accident Analysis. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 16:53-63.
Le Coze, J.C (2008). Disasters and organisations: From lessons learnt to theorising. Safety Science 46:132-149.
Tamuz, M., & Harrison, M.I. (2006). Improving Patient Safety in Hospitals: Contribution of High Reliability Theory and Normal Accident Theory. Health Services Research 41:4.
Fairbanks, R., Wears, R., Woods, D. et al (2014). Resilience and Resilience Engineering in Health Care. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 40: 376-383.
Hollnagel E., Wears R.L. and Braithwaite J. (2015). From Safety-I to Safety-II: A White Paper. The Resilient Health Care Net: Published simultaneously by the University of Southern Denmark, University of Florida, USA, and Macquarie University, Australia. Available here: http://resilienthealthcare.net/onewebmedia/WhitePaperFinal.pdf
Rousseau, D.M. (2011). Reinforcing the Micro/Macro Bridge: Organizational Thinking and Pluralistic Vehicles. Journal of Management, 37(2), March: 429-442. DOI: 10.1177/0149206310372414
Van de Bovenkamp et al. (2017). Working with layers: The governance and regulation of healthcare quality in an institutionally layered system. Public Policy and Administration, vol 32 (1). 45-65.
Benson, L.A., Boyd, A. & Walshe, K. (2006). Learning from regulatory interventions in healthcare. Clinical Governance: An International Journal, 11: 213-224.
Hovlid, E., Høifødt, H., Smedbråten, B. & Braut, G.S. (2015). A retrospective review of how nonconformities are expressed and finalized in external inspections of health-care facilities. BMC Health Services Research, 15:405. DOI 10.1186/s12913-015-1068-9.
Sutton, E., Eborall, H. & Martin, G. (2015). Patient Involvement in Patient Safety: Current experiences, insights from the wider literature, promising opportunities? Public Management Review, 17(1): 72-89. DOI:10.1080/14719037.2014.881538
Dixon- Woods, M. (2010). Why is patient safety so hard? A selective review of ethnographic studies. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 15:11-17.
Gurses, A.P., Ozok, A.A., Pronovost, P.J (2011). Time to accelerate integration of human factors and ergonomics in patient safety. BMJ Quality and Safety, doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2011-000421.
Iedema, R. (2009). New approaches to researching patient safety. Social Science & Medicine 69:1707-1704.
Jha, K.A., Prasopa-Plaizier, N., Larizgoitia, L. et al (2010). Patient safety research: an overview of the global evidence. Quality and Safety in Health Care 19:42-47.
Waring, J.J. (2009). Constructing and reconstructing narratives of patient safety. Social Science & Medicine 69:1722-1731.
Weick, K.E., Sutcliffe, K.M. (2003). Hospitals as Cultures of Entrapment: A Re-analysis of the Bristol royal infirmary. California Management Review, 45(2).
Flin, R (2007). Measuring safety culture in healthcare: A case for accurate diagnosis. Safety Science, 45: 653-667.
Mardon, R.E., Khanna, K., Sorra, J., et al (2010). Exploring Relationships Between Hospital Patient Safety Culture and Adverse Events. Journal of Patient Safety, 6(4).
Kunzle, B., Kolbe, M., Grote, G (2010). Ensuring patient safety through effective leadership behaviour: A literature review. Safety Science, 48: 1-17.
Tucker, A., Nembhard, I.M., Edmondson, A.C. (2007). Implementing New Practices: An Empirical Study of Organizational Learning in Hospital Intensive Care Units. Management Science, 53(6): 894-907.
Tamuz, M., Franchois, K.E., Thomas, E.J. (2011). What`s past in prologue: Organizational learning from a serious patient injury. Safety Science, 49: 75-82.
Nicolini, D., Waring, J., Mengis, J (2011). Policy and practice in the use of root cause analysis to investigate clinical adverse events: Mind the gap. Social Science & Medicine, 73: 217-225.
Eklöf, M., Törner, M. & Pousette, A. (2014). Organizational and social-psychological conditions in healthcare and their importance for patient and staff safety. A critical incident study among doctors and nurses. Safety Science, 70: 211-221.
Burnett, S., Benn, J., Pinto, A., et al (2010). Organisational readiness: exploring the preconditions for success in organisation-wide patient safety improvement programmes. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 19: 313-317.
Grol, R., Bosch, M.C., Hulscher, M., et al (2007). Planning and studying improvement in patient care: the use of theoretical perspectives. The Milbank Quarterly, 85(1): 91-138.
Krein, S.L., Damschroder, L.J., Kowalski, C.P et al (2010). The influence of organizational context on quality improvement and patient safety efforts in infection prevention: A multi-center qualitative study. Social Science & Medicine 71:1692-1701.
Kaplan, H., Brady, P.W., Dritz, M.C. et al (2010). The influence of context on quality improvement success in health are: A systematic review of the literature. The Milbank Quarterly, 88: 500-559.
Doyle, C, Lennoz, L., Bell, D. (2013). A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness. BMJ Open, 3:e001570. Doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001570.
Dixon-Woods, M., Leslie, M., Tarrant, C. & Bion, J. (2013). Explaining Matching Michigan: an ethnographic study of a patient safety program. Implementation Science, 8: 70. DOI: 10.1186/1748-5908-8-70.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 08.04.2020