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The perception of clinical risk among students of different health professions: a multicentre study

14 February 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 3



the need for health care to be safe is increasingly guiding the development of policies to improve clinical practice and education; risk management and patient safety are essential competencies for health professionals.


to examine how students working towards different degrees in Italy perceived their competence in clinical risk management and patient safety when learning in the classroom and the clinical setting.


the Italian version of the H-PEPSS questionnaire was given to 154 students; 78 were studying for a nursing degree and 76 were on the cardio-circulatory pathophysiology and cardiovascular perfusion techniques (CPCPT) degree course.


nearly half of the students (46.10%) did not feel confident about their competence in patient safety and risk management during clinical training.


significant differences in confidence between the two types of students were found in many areas, including in critical aspects of clinical risk management. However, both types of students had similar levels of confidence in some essential areas.

Patient safety has been defined as ‘avoidance of unintended or unexpected harm to the patient’ during healthcare provision, with a guarantee that methods and procedures will minimise the probability of errors and maximise the possibility that potential adverse events will be addressed promptly (Abbott et al, 2012). The international literature (Chenot et al, 2010; Butterworth et al, 2011) shows that one patient in 10 experiences harm from adverse events while receiving healthcare.

The need to guarantee patient safety is driving a continuing commitment to research with the aim of improving clinical practice and the education of all health care professionals (Day and Smith, 2007; World Health Organization (WHO), 2012). This commitment, which started at an international level with the creation of the World Alliance for Patient Safety in 2004 (Chenot et al, 2010), led to the development of centres and programmes promoting patient safety in several countries (Christiansen et al, 2010; Cooper, 2013). In Italy, the National System for Patient Safety has been operating since 2006 and regions have been drawing up plans and intervention strategies.

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