Peninsula Medical School

MSc Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety

Healthcare systems all share one current goal: to deliver safe, high quality care within budget against a backdrop of skill shortages and increasing patient demand. Our MSc in Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety will equip you with the confidence to address these challenges. On this programme you will develop the knowledge and expertise to analyse healthcare processes, propose evidence-based improvements and to lead implementation within your own workplace setting.

Available pathways

This programme is based on our previous MSc in Simulation and Patient Safety, but with additional flexibility at the postgraduate certificate stage where you study Patient Safety and Quality Improvement accompanied by either:

  • Simulation and Enhanced Learning – this module will allow you to become an expert practitioner in the use of simulation to advance clinical education across all clinical disciplines using a wide range of simulation modalities.

or:

  • Human Factors in Healthcare – this module will develop your understanding and skills around the science of human factors and ergonomics allowing you to make system changes to enhance performance for the benefit of patients and staff.

There is also a full-time and intercalated route available for this programme.

Please contact susanne.smith@plymouth.ac.uk for further information.


Places are still available for academic year 2019/20

Apply now to Join MSc Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety in September.

Careers with this subject

Our programme equips you with the vital skills to implement change and improvement within a healthcare system. This expertise together with an appreciation of the leadership techniques required enhances your day-to-day working and provides you with the tools necessary to advance your career, regardless of your professional background.  Our students become part of a network of acknowledged experts in healthcare improvement, patient safety, simulation and human factors that has both regional and national credibility.

Key features

  • Equip yourself to become a leader in healthcare improvement, patient safety, simulation and human factors.
  • Develop expertise that is immediately relevant to practice and undertake assignments geared to projects which you can implement in your own organisation.
  • Experience our diverse faculty drawn from the medical school, the wider University, NHS trusts and external experts in each subject area, including national leads.
  • Enjoy testing out your new-found knowledge in our supportive classroom discussions where we offer the space and time away from the normal working environment to facilitate your personal and intellectual development, whatever your aspirations.
  • Benefit from a blended learning environment with delivery ranging between lectures, seminars, practical systems analysis techniques, simulation-based learning, and supported distance learning. Our academic team are available via a means of telecommunication methods for ongoing support during your studies.
  • Choose between two pathways at the certificate stage: study either simulation and enhanced learning or human factors in healthcare, both of which complement the first module, healthcare improvement and patient safety. Pick up the remaining module at the diploma stage.
  • There are options to take a clinical education, leadership or global health module at the diploma stage for students not wishing to do the dissertation.
  • Available as a full-time or part-time programme.
  • An opportunity for intercalating students to enrol on the full-time route from medical and dental undergraduate courses throughout the UK, provided that they have sufficient credits to continue with a masters (Level 7) qualification. Intercalating students will study alongside postgraduate students from a variety of backgrounds and will benefit from this vibrant educational environment.
  • Each module of this programme may be taken as a stand-alone CPD module, either with academic credits (for those completing the assignment) or attendance only. Please get in touch if this is something that could be useful to you or your colleagues.
  • Please contact the Programme Leads via susanne.smith@plymouth.ac.uk for further information.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • The course begins in September with an induction day during which we introduce you to study at the Peninsula Medical School; the facilities available through the University of Plymouth; and the start of our exploration of patient safety and quality improvement.

    Patient Safety and Quality Improvement module (SIM714)

    The aim of this module is to advance knowledge, understanding and skills in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (QI) and to guide our students to apply this learning in their own workplaces. We introduce different conceptual models of safety and the prevention of harm, alongside methods for analysing the safety of healthcare systems. We critically consider the idea of learning organisations and the importance of safety culture in developing organisations which can improve and which can successfully implement healthcare improvement. On a system-wide level, we review the current state of patient safety across healthcare, taking into account the voices of patients, staff and the legal profession and examine the effectiveness of high-level strategies to bring about quality improvement and the local needs to achieve implementation. 

    In the spring term you can then study either:

    Simulation and Enhanced Learning (SIM711)

    This module presents an in-depth exploration of the range of simulation-based learning modalities that can improve patient safety and quality of care through enhanced learning. We aim to take students on a stimulating journey through fields of study that take in different and novel models of learning; the acquisition of expertise; motor learning theory; the cognitive basis of clinical decision making and the broader considerations of simulation-enhanced learning such as deception, ethics and public engagement. All these areas are considered in a thought-provoking manner and in doing this we approach our subject area using examples from the humanities including art, performance and music.

    Or:

    Human Factors in Healthcare (SIM715)

    Human factors is a term that has come to mean different things to different people.  In this module we explore the full range of how human beings interact successfully with their physical and sociotechnical environment to provide safe and effective healthcare. We cover themes as diverse as non-technical skills for teams in high stakes situations - to the lay-out of the clinical environment - to ergonomics: all of which contribute to human performance.  The science of human factors and ergonomics has long been employed in industry to develop safer, efficient and more productive work models and we will explore this to focus on the physical and psychological links between organisations, employees and their work environment and how the concept of human factors influences the way that we work in healthcare.

    Optional modules
    • SIM711 Simulation and Enhanced Learning

      An in-depth exploration of the range of simulation-based learning modalities that can improve patient safety and quality of care through Enhanced Learning. This module will incorporate critical study of the underpinning theory from education and expert practice, change management and innovation.

    • SIM714 Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

      The aim of this module is to advance knowledge, understanding and skills in patient safety and the application of these to the participant's workplace in order to effect improvements in quality of care. It will develop a critical understanding of the principles underlying patient safety, the role of systems analysis in this and examine strategies to improve patient safety.

    • SIM715 Human Factors in Healthcare

      The science of human factors has long been employed in industry to develop safer, efficient and more productive work models. This module focuses on the physical and psychological links between organisations, employees and their work environment and how the concept of human factors influences the way that we work in healthcare. The use of simulation for training and assessment of human factors will be integral to the module.

  • Year 2
  • Project Design, Development and Knowledge Transfer (PDD721, Autumn Term)

    This module will provide students with the knowledge and skills associated with the project design, development and knowledge transfer process involved in their future dissertation project. Students will gain practical experience of multi-disciplinary team working through problem identification and problem solving to encourage innovation and creativity in developing their own research project, systematic review or quality improvement project. The assignment for this module is a detailed proposal for the student’s dissertation project.

    And either:

    Simulation and Enhanced Learning (SIM711) or Human Factors in Healthcare (SIM715), whichever one wasn’t completed at the certificate stage.

    For students not wishing to undertake the dissertation stage, an alternative module for completion of the postgraduate diploma may be chosen from one of our other postgraduate programmes, such as clinical education, global health, and healthcare, management, leadership and innovation.

  • Final year
  • Dissertation (DIS731 October - start date)

    The aim of the dissertation is to enable students to demonstrate their ability to design, conduct, evaluate and write-up a project on a topic from the fields of simulation, healthcare improvement, patient safety and/or human factors. During this stage, masters students demonstrate self-direction, originality and an ability to act autonomously in the planning and implementation of project skills at an advanced professional level. Whilst this is an independently conducted project, and may well take place within the student’s workplace, there will be comprehensive supervision, guidance and support provided to students throughout this part of their course. This module takes a full year (1 October – 30 September duration).

    The MSc in Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety can be undertaken as a full-time course over 1 year, and as an intercalating degree for medical and dental students over the months September-June. Please contact the Programme Leads for further information: susanne.smith@plymouth.ac.uk.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Normally a recognised first degree or equivalent will be required. Entrants who have acquired experience through work or other means that enables staff responsible for admissions to be confident of the candidate’s ability to succeed in the programme may also be considered, in line with QAA guidance.

If your first language is not English you will be required to provide evidence of competence in English language:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7 or above with no less than 7.0 in each category (speaking, listening, reading, & writing) will be required. Students with a first degree from the UK may still be required to take IELTS.

Accreditation of prior certificated learning (APCL) and accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) refer to the process by which previous formal certificated learning and informal non-certificated learning can be awarded credit towards modules within the sphere of Higher Education. Credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential, may count towards the requirements for the named award. The maximum amount of credit for prior learning (certificated or experiential) claimed towards the award is 120 credits. To qualify for the award of a masters degree, your dissertation must be completed at Plymouth University. If you are seeking credit (whether certificated or experiential), you will normally be required to apply for such credit on receipt of an offer of a place on the programme. Requests for APCL if you are already on a programme will be considered, provided that you submit the request in the session before you would normally begin the module/stage for which you are seeking credit. In the case of requests for APEL, this would be at least six months prior to the beginning of the session before you would normally begin the module(s)/stage against which you are seeking credit.

The University of Plymouth is committed to providing equality for all irrespective of age, disability, ethnicity (including race, colour and nationality), gender, gender reassignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity and will work to ensure that all students, employees and visitors, as well as those who apply or seek to apply to work or study at the University, are treated fairly and are not subjected to discrimination by the University on any of these grounds (University Equality and Diversity Policy, Revised April 2011).

The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry welcomes applications from people with disabilities who will be considered on the same academic grounds as other potential students. Considerations about individual needs arising from disability will be made separately, and we will strive to meet an individual disabled student's needs wherever possible and in consultation with Disability Services.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

All fees are published per 60 credits. A full MSc represents 180 credits.

New student 2018 2019
Home/EU NA £3,150
International NA £6,525

Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.


How to apply

Make sure you meet the entry requirements for this programme.

Before you apply

Make sure you have all your supporting documents. Documents required usually include:
  • Evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • Personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in this course and outlining the nature of previous and current teaching experience. You can write this into the online application form, or send it as a separate attachment.
  • Two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course 
  • Two passport photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • Proof of sponsorship, if applicable

When to apply

Applications for postgraduate programmes of study can usually be made throughout the year. When applying for a taught postgraduate programme, please check for any submission deadlines with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Admissions team (contact details below). For full-time programmes, you may be invited for interview.

Check the closing date and apply as early as possible as our programmes are popular.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

Once you have registered and logged in, please enter the ‘course code’ which can be found above into the search bar to begin your application.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our online admissions policy for taught programmes. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

What happens after I apply?

For more information contact the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Admissions team.

If you would like to speak to one of our course information advisors, please contact us:

University of Plymouth

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The John Bull Building
Research Way
Plymouth Science Park
Plymouth
PL6 8BU

Tel: +44 (0)1752 437333
Fax: +44 (0)1752 517842
meddent-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information, to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) or you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Information team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. The Doctoral College is also available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office.

People

Dr Thomas Gale named Principal Fellow of Higher Education Academy 

Dr Thomas Gale, Associate Professor in Clinical Skills and Simulation at the Peninsula Medical School and Director of CAMERA, has been named a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). 

Thomas received the Fellowship thanks to a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and academic development, and providing a key contribution to high quality student learning at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA)

We seek to inform assessment across medical education through funded collaborative research that impacts on the international literature, educational theory, practice and policy at Plymouth, nationally and internationally.

CAMERA brings together a research group dedicated to the improvement of healthcare through evidence based education.

Learn more about CAMERA's research