Getting off the carousel: Exploring the wicked problem of curriculum reform

Jennifer Cleland
Lorraine Hawick
Simon Kitto
Soort article
Original Research
Case Study,
Curriculum reform,
Undergraduate medical education,
Wicked problems,
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Background Errors in healthcare are a major patient safety issue, with incident reporting a key solution. The incident reporting system has been integrated within a new medical curriculum, encouraging medical students to take part in this key safety process. The aim of this study was to describe the system and assess how students perceived the reporting system with regards to its role in enhancing safety.

Methods Employing a thematic analysis, this study used interviews with medical students at the end of the first year. Thematic indices were developed according to the information emerging from the data. Through open, axial and then selective stages of coding, an understanding of how the system was perceived was established.

Results Analysis of the interview specified five core themes: (1) Aims of the incident reporting system; (2) internalized cognition of the system; (3) the impact of the reporting system; (4) threshold for reporting; (5) feedback on the systems operation. Selective analysis revealed three overriding findings: lack of error awareness and error wisdom as underpinned by key theoretical constructs, student support of the principle of safety, and perceptions of a blame culture.

Conclusions Students did not interpret reporting as a manner to support institutional learning and safety, rather many perceived it as a tool for a blame culture. The impact reporting had on students was unexpected and may give insight into how other undergraduates and early graduates interpret such a system. Future studies should aim to produce interventions that can support a reporting culture.


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