AHRQ Patient Safety Culture Survey Used to Teach Pharmacy Students About Safety

Patient Safety
June 2007

Campbell University School of Pharmacy uses AHRQ's Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture in classes that teach pharmacy students to understand and create a culture of safety in their future careers.

Robert Cisneros, PhD, Assistant Professor in Campbell's School of Pharmacy, uses the survey in a Medication Error elective class he teaches each fall to third-year professional students. He also includes information from the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture in his management class for first-year pharmacy students. Over 100 students have taken the classes since the survey was incorporated as a teaching tool.

"I believe the survey questions really opened students' eyes as to what a 'culture of safety' is all about," Cisneros says. "The survey questions serve as great examples for students. Although the survey was geared toward hospitals, most of the questions are relevant even for the community pharmacy setting."

Cisneros first became aware of the survey when he read about it in a newsletter from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. "I am very much a believer in the importance of the workplace culture in patient safety," he says. AHRQ's survey helps him deliver his message to students.

Since 2006, Cisneros has also used the survey to demonstrate what a culture of safety should be about when he gives presentations to pharmacists during Continuing Education (CE) classes. In about a year, he has used it with six groups, where attendance ranged from 20 students to more than 300 pharmacists. He plans to further incorporate the survey into other pharmacy CE classes he teaches.

With the release of AHRQ's report on the national results of the survey, Cisneros is working on incorporating these results in his classes as well. The 2007 report contains comparative results on 108,621 hospital staff respondents from 382 participating hospitals that administered the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture.

"I am eager to include the results of the survey in my classes, so we can expand our discussion," Cisneros notes.

Campbell's pharmacy students have embraced the concept of patient safety. Their interest in safety led a group to review pharmacy journals in late 2006 to detect the use of inappropriate abbreviations in articles and advertising. Cisneros reveals that the results were quite interesting, and he has plans to compile them for publication.

Campbell University is located in Buies Creek, North Carolina. The School of Pharmacy was founded in 1986 and now admits over 100 new first-year pharmacy students each year. The curriculum requires successful completion of four professional years of pharmacy coursework and student rotations, in addition to a minimum of two years of pre-pharmacy classes.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture
Topics(s): Patient Safety, Academic Curricula, Prescription Drugs
Geographic Location: North Carolina
Implementer: Campbell University School of Pharmacy
Date: 06/01/2007

Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Update. March 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/patientsafetyculture/

Page last reviewed October 2014