Delivering on the Promise of CLER: A Patient Safety Rotation That Aligns Resident Education With Hospital Processes

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Residency programs must provide training in patient safety. Yet, significant gaps exist among published patient safety curricula. The authors developed a rotation designed to be scalable to an entire residency, built on sound pedagogy, aligned with hospital safety processes, and effective in improving educational outcomes.


From July 2015 to May 2017, each second-year resident completed the two-week rotation. Residents engaged the foundational science asynchronously via multiple modalities and then practiced applying key concepts during a mock root cause analysis. Next, each resident performed a special review of an actual adverse patient event and presented findings to the hospital’s Special Review Committee (SRC). Multiple educational outcomes were assessed, including resident satisfaction and attitudes (postrotation survey), changes in knowledge via pre- and posttest, quality of the residents’ written safety analyses and oral presentations (per survey of SRC members), and organizational changes that resulted from the residents’ reviews.


Twenty-two residents completed the rotation. Most components were rated favorably; 80% (12/15 respondents) indicated interest in future patient safety work. Knowledge improved by 44.3% (P < .0001; pretest mean 23.7, posttest mean 34.2). Compared to faculty, SRC members rated the quality of residents’ written reviews as superior and the quality of the rated oral presentations as either comparable or superior. The reviews identified a variety of safety vulnerabilities and led to multiple corrective actions.

Next Steps

The authors will evaluate the curriculum in a controlled trial with better measures of change in behavior. Further tests of the curriculum’s scalability to other contexts are needed.

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