gms | German Medical Science

20th Annual Meeting of the German Drug Utilisation Research Group (GAA)

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

05.12. - 06.12.2013, Düsseldorf

Medication safety curriculum – an essential part of training medical students in patient safety-

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Rebekka Lenssen - Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany, Aachen, Germany
  • author presenting/speaker Katharina Franzen - Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany, Aachen, Germany
  • author Nicole Hohn - Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany, Aachen, Germany
  • author Dominik Groß - Institute of History, Theory and Ethics in Medicine, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen Medical School, Aachen, Germany
  • author Albrecht Eisert - Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany, Aachen, Germany

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 20. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Düsseldorf, 05.-06.12.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. Doc13gaa21

doi: 10.3205/13gaa21, urn:nbn:de:0183-13gaa216

Published: November 25, 2013

© 2013 Lenssen et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Despite implementation of patient-safety guidelines becomes more common in European countries, education in this field is still underrepresented in medical curricula.

Only 25% of U.S. and Canadian academic medical schools had an explicit curriculum on patient safety [1]. In current literature medication safety educational modules often consist of “safe prescribing” courses. To our knowledge, there is no existing curriculum for “medication safety” in German medical schools including several aspects of medication safety.

To prepare future doctors for their daily practice we have to train both patient safety and medication safety. This seems to be a new challenge.

In this context, we created a new curriculum for medication safety.

In 2010 the Hospital Pharmacy of RWTH Aachen University Hospital started an initiative to teach medical students about medication safety.

Materials and Methods: As a first step four teaching sessions were added to an existing patient safety tutorial module [2]. Due to the fact that participants were particularly interested in medication safety issues, we developed the new educational module.

To set up the new curriculum, we used existing recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) [3] and the European Network for Patient Safety (EuNetPas) [4].

Relevant aspects of the WHO initiative “High 5’s – action on patient safety” [5] and our own commitment in national efforts for improving patient and medication safety in Germany (German Coalition on Patient Safety) have influenced the concept.

To enhance the education module, the participants were asked to evaluate the seminar. Therefore we used the standard evaluation tool of the institute.

Results: The new educational module imparts several aspects of medication safety. Students should become sensitized for all problems and high-risk situations which could occur through handling of medications. Therefore, they are trained in every step of the medication process starting with diagnosis/ anamneses and ending up with omission. Additionally, “basics in patient safety” are taught. Theoretical aspects are embedded in practical trainings e.g. discussions of paper cases, handling of special application forms, visits in high-risk departments and reflection of own experiences. Team-teaching by pharmacists, physicians, nurses and a medical sociologist underline the aspect of multi-professionalism in the whole seminar.

Eligible participants are medical students, who have initial clinical experience (e.g. medical clerkship, internship) and basic knowledge in pharmacology. Thus, the seminar is open for students from 5th to 10th semester.

The seminar was evaluated by the participants. They were satisfied regarding content, structure and presentation of the teaching concept. Aspects to improve were expanding the practical parts of the lessons and extending the manuscript.

Conclusion: Medication safety as an inevitable part of patient safety is implemented as an elective course at RWTH Aachen University Medical School. In daily practice knowledge in patient safety and medication safety is indispensable. Thus, further effort needs to be done to implement both issues in the fixed curriculum for every medical student.


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