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Teaching Future Doctors The Basics of Medication Errors

Posted Jan 18 2011 5:31pm

Medical students should have basic knowledge of common medication errors before they begin seeing patients at the hospital, and researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center report that allowing them to play detective by watching, spotting and analyzing medical errors as they occur can go a long way toward helping prevent potentially fatal mistakes in their future practices.

The observational course, now taught as part of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine curriculum, was piloted in the 2008-2009 academic year, and an analysis of its impact published online Jan. 12 in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety in Healthcare.

The course was part of a nine-week pediatric rotation at Hopkins Children’s during which 108 second, third and fourth-year medical students shadowed and observed doctors and nurses perform daily work on inpatient and outpatient units. The instruction combined personal observation of actual medical errors in the making or near-misses and required students to deconstruct the errors, the investigators say.

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