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Patient safety - theory and practice

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

We have all had experiences as patient or next of kin in relation to different types of healthcare services. This course is about how patient safety can be understood, explained and maintained when a patient is in need of healthcare services. The aim of the course is to give students the knowledge, skills, and analytical capacity to understand the important preconditions necessary for achieving a high level of safety in healthcare (in theory and practice).

Learning outcome

Upon completion of this course, the students are expected to have the following knowledge, skills and competence:
  • About existing theories and research in patient safety
  • About current practices in patient safety in the Norwegian health care system
  • About differences between an individual perspective and a system's perspective on safety
  • About how risk-based methods, simulation, safety culture and learning can be used as a means in patient safety work
  • About how patient experiences can be incorporated in patient safety work

  • To apply theories/methods to improve patient safety in practice
  • To evaluate scientific publications on patient safety

General competence
  • To critically analyze different theoretical, methodological and practical approaches to patient safety


Course content is based on recent safety research in healthcare, however, examples from other sectors of society are applied when relevant. The course covers the following main topics:
  • System perspective
  • Patient perspective
  • Role of governmental bodies, policy and practice
  • Interaction and transitions
  • Risk-based approach
  • Leadership, learning, safety culture and work environment
  • Education, simulation and training

Required prerequisite knowledge



Weight Duration Marks Aid
Term paper1/1 A - FAll.

Coursework requirements

Presentation, Essay
Group work: Student presentations on the curriculum.
Submitted and approved essay about the research problem for the individual assignment (maximum 500 words).

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Eline Ree
Study Program Director
Margareth Kristoffersen

Method of work

The teaching is based on student-active methods, both individually and in groups. Teaching will extend over three sessions of 1-2 days.
Note: If only a few students are registered, the course can be organized as a supervised reading course.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Patient safety - theory and practice (FXMHV264_1) 10
Patient safety - theory and practice (E-MRS170_1) 10

Open to

The course is open to all master's students.

Candidates with a relevant bachelor's degree may apply for admission to the course if there is availability.

Course assessment

There is continuous evaluation of the quality of the teaching and learning experience according to current regulations.


Certain adjustments in literature/curriculum can be made. Any adjustments will be published on Canvas at the beginning of the semester.
Mandatory literature:
Aase, K & Schibevaag, L (Red.). (2016). Researching Patient Safety and Quality in Healthcare: A Nordic Perspective. USA: Taylor and Francis Publishing.
Vincent, C. (2010). Patient Safety. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. (416 pages).
Articles, reports and chapters:
Alingh, C. W., van Wijngaarden, J. D., van de Voorde, K., Paauwe, J., & Huijsman, R. J. B. Q. S. (2019). Speaking up about patient safety concerns: the influence of safety management approaches and climate on nurses’ willingness to speak up. BMJ Quality and Safety,28(1), 39-48. (9 pages).
Bigham, B. L., Buick, J. E., Brooks, S. C., Morrison, M., Shojania, K. G., & Morrison, L. J. (2012). Patient Safety in Emergency Medical Services: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Prehospital Emergency Care: Official Journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the National Association of State EMS Directors, 16(1), 20-35. (15 pages).
Carayon, P., Wetterneck, T. B., Rivera-Rodriges, A. J., Hundt, A. S., Honakker, P., Holden, R., & Gurses, A. P. (2014). Human factors systems approach to healthcare quality and patient safety. Applied Ergonomics, 45, 14-25. (13 pages).
Doupi, P., Svaar, H., Bjørn, B., Deilkås, E., Nylen, U., & Rutberg, H. (2014). Use of the Global Trigger Tool in patient safety improvement efforts: Nordic experiences. Cognition, Technology & Work, 17(1), 45-54. (10 pages).
Haugen, A. S., Høyland, S., Thomassen, Ø., & Aase, K. (2014). "Its a state of mind": a qualitative study after two years experience with the World Health Organizations surgical safety checklist. Cognition, Technology & Work, 17(1), 55-62. (8 pages).
Healy, J. (2011). Chapter 1. Introduction: Why regulate? In: Improving health care safety and quality. England: Ashgate Publishing Company. (18 pages).
Laugaland, K., Aase, K., & Waring, J. (2014). Hospital discharge of the elderly - an observational case stydy of functions, variability and performance - shaping factors. BMC Health Services Research, 14:365. (15 pages).
Masotti, P., McColl, M. A., & Green, M. (2010). Adverse events experienced by homecare patients: a scoping review of the literature. International Journal for Quality in Healthcare, 22(2), 115-125. (11 pages).
Naik, V. N & Brien, S. E. (2013). Review article: Simulation: a means to address and improve patient safety. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, 60(2), 192-200. (9 pages).
Ocloo, J. E. (2010). Harmed patients gaining voice: challenging dominant perspectives in the construction of medical harm and patient safety reforms. Social Science & Medicine, 71(3), 510-516. (6 pages).
Stevenson, L., Land, A., Macdonald, M., Archer, J., & Berlanda, C. (2012). Safety in Home Care: Thinking Outside the Hospital Box. Healthcare Quarterly, 15(Special Issue), 68-72. (5 pages).
Storm, M., Siemsen, IMD., Laugaland, K., Dyrstad, D. N., & Aase K. (2014). Quality in transitional care of the elderly: Key challenges and relevant improvement measures. International Journal of Integrated Care, 14(2), 1-15. (15 pages).
Tritter, J. Q. (2009). Revolution or evolution: the challenges of conceptualizing patient and public involvement in a consumerist world. Health Expectations, 12(3), 275-287. (12 pages).
Wiig, S., Storm, M., Aase, K., Gjertsen, M. T., Solheim, M., Harthug, S., Robert, G., Fulop, N., & QUASER team. (2013). Investigating the use of patient involvement and patient experience in quality improvement in Norway: rhetoric or reality?, BMC Health Services Research, 13:206. (13 pages).
Øvretveit, J. (2010). Improvement leaders: what do they and should they do? A summary of a review of research. Quality and Safety in Healthcare, 19, 490-49.2 (3 pages).

Recommended literature:
Aase, K. (Red.) (2015). Pasientsikkerhet - teori og praksis. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (279 pages).
Vincent, C., & Amalberti, R. (2016). Safer Health Care. Strategies for the Real World. Springer International Publishing (Open access at: www.springer.com).
Beer, J. M., McBride, S. E., Mitzner, T. L., & Rogers, W. A. (2014). Understanding challenges in the front lines of home health care: A human - systems approach. Applied Ergonomics, 45, 1687-1699. (13 pages).
De Vos, M., Graafmans, W., Koositra, M., Meijboom, B., Van Der Vort, P., & Westert G. (2009). Using quality indicators to improve hospital care: a review of the literature. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 2(2), 119-129. (11 pages).
Fisher, J. D., Freeman, K., Clarke, A., Spurgeon, P., Smyth, M., Perkins, G. D., et al. (2015). Patient safety in ambulance services: a scoping review. Health Services and Delivery Research, 3(21), 1-250. (250 pages).
Jha, V., Buckley, H., Gabe, R., Kanaan, M., Lawton, R., Melville, C., Quinton, N., Symons, J., Thompson, Z., Watt, I., & Wright, J. (2014). Patients as teachers: a randomized controlled trial on the use of personal stories of harm to raise awareness of patient safety for doctors in training. BMJ Quality and Safety, 24(1), 1-10. (10 pages).
Kaplan, H. C., Provost, L. P., Froehle, C. M., & Margolis, P. A. (2012). The Model for Understanding Success an Quality (MUSIQ): building a theory of context in healthcare quality improvement. BMJ Quality and Safety, 21, 13-20. (8 pages).
Lawati, MHA., Dennis S., Short SD., & Abdulhadi NN. (2018). Patient safety and safety culture in primary health care: a systematic review. BMC family practice, 19(1):104, (10 pages).
Parand, A., Dopson, S., Renz, A., & Vincent, C. (2014). The role of hospital managers in quality and patient safety: a systematic review. BMJ Open, 4(9), 1-15. (15 pages).
Sexton, J. B., Sharek, P. J., Thomas, E. J., Gould, J. B., Nisbet, C. C., Amspoker, A. B., Kowalkowski, M. A., Schwendimann, R., & Profit, J. (2014). Exposure to Leadership WalkRounds in neonatal intensive care units is associated with a better patient safety culture and less caregiver burnout. BMJ Quality and Safety, 23, 814-822. (9 pages).
Sollid, S. J. M., Dieckman, P., Aase, K., Søreide, E., Ringsted, C., Østergaard, D. (2016). Five Topics Health Care Simulation Can Address to Improve Patient Safety: Results From a Concensus Process. Journal of Patient Safety, (publish ahead of print), 1-9. (9 pages).
Wiig, S., Ree, E., Johannessen, T., Strømme, T., Storm, M., Aase, I., . . . Pedersen, A. T. S. (2018). Improving quality and safety in nursing homes and home care: the study protocol of a mixed-methods research design to implement a leadership intervention. BMJ open, 8(3), 1-8. (7 pages).

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

Sist oppdatert: 28.05.2020