Risk and Patient Safety module (PN50115)

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Module code


This module is one of the core modules for the MSc Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, and an option in other MSc programmes. It can also be taken as a stand-alone module.

SCQF Level: 11 (Masters level)

SCQF Credits: 30 (15 ECTS)

Total student effort: 300 hours

Available January

Target Audience

This module is applicable to all local, national and international healthcare professionals including nurses, midwives, medical staff and allied health professionals. The module is also suitable for non-clinical staff working within the health service, particularly risk management, patient safety, quality and clinical governance support staff.

Delivery details

This module is  delivered entirely online through My Dundee (the University virtual learning environment).

Learning is facilitated through online activities and discussions between students and module tutors. As well as providing all the learning materials online, activities and discussions are used throughout the module to encourage student learning, reinforce content and provide discussion forums to assist student engagement with the materials. 

The online debate part of the summative assessment enhances the learning environment by promoting interaction between students, active participation in  your learning and deeper exploration of a key theme within the module content. Although specific formative assessment is not used, a developmental approach to the online activities and discussions ensures that you explore and receive feedback on key aspects of the second part of the summative assessment (essay) throughout the module.

Module aim

To provide you with the opportunity to develop your understanding of the relationship between risk management and patient safety and to explore and apply the underpinning theories, principles and approaches on a local, national and international level.

Module overview

The module addresses the ever-increasing worldwide emphasis on quality and safety and incorporates some more contemporary issues related to the delivery of safe care, such as human factors science and reliability theory. It comprises four units:

Unit 1: The Emergence of Risk and Patient Safety

  • historical and current context/drivers for risk and patient safety
  • definitions of risk management and patient safety and their mutual relationship
  • safety as a key dimension of quality

Unit 2: The Principles of Managing Risk and Patient Safety

  • a systems approach to managing risk and patient safety
  • the concept of systems reliability
  • cultural influences on risk and patient safety 

Unit 3: The Influence of Human Factors on Patient Safety

  • the concept of human factors science
  • exploration of a range of human factors and their impact on safety 
  • embedding patient safety through team based working

Unit 4: Approaches to Managing Risk and Patient Safety

  • national and international patient safety programmes and approaches
  • local structures and systems for managing risk and patient safety
  • identification of local tools and techniques for managing risk and patient safety

Assessment strategy

There are 2 parts to the module assessment, and the grades for the two assessments will be combined to give the overall module grade. The assessments are as follows:

Online debate (33% of overall grade)
Assessment of your participation in an online debate about a key theme from the module content.

Essay (67% of overall grade)
A 2000-word critique of an existing tool supporting the management of risk and/or patient safety from your own area of practice. The critique must align with relevant risk and patient safety theories/principles and enable an evaluation of whether the tool should be retained modified or replaced.

Module requirements

Prior to undertaking this module you must be educated to degree level or equivalent. You must also have access to a computer, the internet and have basic IT skills.

Module contact

For further information, please contact the School of Health Sciences
Telephone: +44(0)1382 388534
Email: nursing-health-postqualifying@dundee.ac.uk