The ‘never event’ approach is a clinical risk management strategy used in the NHS to focus attention on serious harm incidents without creating a culture of blame. It aims to achieve this by investigating serious harm incidents through consideration of systemic issues and focussing on learning from such incidents to prevent future harm. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was adapted for use in outpatient oral surgery, with the aim to reduce the incidence of wrong tooth extraction, which was consistently the most common ‘never event’ until its removal in 2021.
Less attention has been given to the role that institutional culture plays in protecting patients and the education of dental students. Developing a positive safety culture in our dental schools must start by ensuring uniformity of values and attitudes among our educators. However, most of the research into this area is focused on medical and nursing groups, and the lack of insight into dental undergraduate perceptions of these topics prevents us from knowing if our current approaches are effective.
This study is a mixed-methods design. It would involve an adapted version of the Safety Attitude survey. The study will also explore the intersection of teaching methods and safety culture using semi-structured interviews with fifth-year dental students at the participating dental schools.
The research aims to identify and explore the perceived barriers to patient safety among dental students and identify the teaching methods that will be best received by undergraduates to help UK dental schools deliver patient safety curricula that are fit for purpose.