Future nurses and doctors train together to improve patient safety

Published November 4, 2011

Students training to become medical doctors and nurses at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa will take part in a collaborative training session on Monday, November 7, 2011 at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) campus in Kaka’ako.

The session is part of a new joint curriculum begun in September 2011 by JABSOM and the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH). The curriculum is intended to improve inter-professional communication to promote patient safety. The goal is to reduce medical errors, which the U.S. Institute of Medicine estimates contribute to more than 50,000 deaths annually.

“By learning together, doctors and nurses can improve their communication, trust and teamwork,” said Dr. Damon Sakai, JABSOM Director of Medical Education. “They can work together to find the root cause of errors and work collaboratively to make our patients safer.”

SONDH and JABSOM faculty members, along with physicians and nurses from The Queen’s Medical Center, Hawai’i Pacific Health and Kaiser Permanente Hawai’i are leading the joint exercise, in which 59 first-year nursing students and 66 first-year medical students will learn side-by-side. The sessions, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in JABSOM’s Medical Education Building at 651 Ilalo Street, will include videotaped scenarios to simulate moments of high stress in health care settings during which errors are more likely to occur.

“Both the medical and nursing schools want to be proactive in providing safe quality care in Hawai’i,” said Stephanie Marshall, Director of Community Partnerships for the nursing school. “By learning to communicate from the earliest point in their training, we believe these first-year students will be ‘hard-wired’ throughout their careers to function as a team.”

Story by Tina Shelton. Photo: a Mānoa nursing student trains with a high-tech robotic patient.


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