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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Clinical Sciences : Critical Care

Postgraduate Course: Human Factors in Critical Care (CRCA11006)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Clinical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe term "human factors" is widely used in a range of high reliability domains including aviation, oil and gas production, and the nuclear industry. There is an emerging recognition of the importance of non-technical elements in the provision of safe and high-quality healthcare. In this course the individual components of human factors are surfaced and the factors which influence them, in the context of critical care, are explored.
Course description 1) Academic Description

Human Factors can be viewed from several perspectives: scientific and ergonomic; clinical; humane. This course will allow the student to learn about, and reflect on, team working, communication, prioritisation and planning, situation awareness and the implications of human factors science in Critical Care. Since decision making is such a ubiquitous and crucial component of the praxis of medicine emphasis will be given to learning more about this. It is complex, and multifaceted, and to understand it is to think about how we think, and what affects thinking. In order to make many clinical decisions in critical care we need understanding and knowledge of the predicted course of disease processes (diagnoses), including the effects of treatment, the effects of multiple morbidities, and the prognosis of acute illness. This course will signpost the need to consider the context of the decision making: from a patient or clinical team viewpoint, and from the perspective of time and place. Since the effects of affect may not be apparent or acknowledged, yet may be hugely important, a significant focus of learning will be around this. The importance of self-awareness in the caring human factors of empathy and compassion will be promoted.

2) Outline content

Three approaches to Human Factors, and the interplay between them, will be explored during this course. Humane factors which are integral to critical care include compassion, humour, presence, empathy and emotional intelligence. These will be discussed and examined in the context of end of life care. Clinical human factors, also designated as non-technical skills, are crucial within critical care. There will be specific emphasis on decision making models, dual process theory, and the place of cognitive, affective and contextual bias. The evidence base for these will be reviewed. The student will be introduced to the principles of unit layout, equipment design, and the place of alarms and alerts. The issue of error and critical incidents will be raised. How the patient is triangulated through the interaction of these elements will be realised.

3) Student Learning Experience

Students will learn from subject matter experts in clinical decision making, team working and communication. A guided walk round the virtual ICU will allow the student to explore the geography and ergonomics and to examine issues of equipment and monitoring. There will be discussion of their local approach to admitting, accepting and reporting mistakes, errors and critical incidents. Classic papers will be reviewed. Students will participate in asynchronous subject matter expert-led discussion boards, where they will develop a self-chosen error for presentation at the weekly live tutorials. The place of the Morbidity and Mortality meeting will be revisited with a live version being run by the students. The students will also engage with recorded tutorials and lectures. They will evidence their learning through the development and presentation of a case for the Morbidity and Mortality meeting. They will also write a reflective essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start MVM Online Learning Block 3
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In course assessment: 100 %
Feedback Feedback is defined as information to students which allows them to review what they know, understand and can do in their studies. Feedback is also important to identify areas for improvement, for example course feedback surveys will be an integral component of the programme to allow refinement.

Opportunities for feedback arise during timetabled courses, for example during live session tutorials, interactive discussion boards, emails. Feedback can be provided on coursework assignments but also activities which are not formally assessed, for example class discussion on the discussion board, group exercises, problem-solving such as weekly quizzes and developing project plans and proposals. A formative task is provided in each course which provides feedforward prior to the student submitting their first piece of summative assessed course work.

All assignments will be marked, and feedback is provided within a period of fifteen working days (where possible) following the submission date (excluding holidays periods whereby the University is closed, e.g. over the Christmas period).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply the current and evolving principles of critical thinking to Human Factors
  2. Critically analyse the main theoretical models of decision making, and what influences them
  3. Critically reflect on the complex elements required to achieve both self-awareness and effective team working
  4. Recruit Human Factors to explain perceptive judgements in the presence of clinical uncertainty
  5. Develop a range of specialised practices, including checklist development, systems thinking, cognitive autopsy, and clinician support
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills a) Mindsets:

Enquiry and lifelong learning:
Graduates of this course will be encouraged to pursue their own curiosity and to learn and develop in the field of critical care, to strive for excellence in their own professional practice, and to strive to improve care for patients as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Aspiration and personal development
Students will be encouraged to draw on their own experiences to identify areas in which they wish to grow and develop acknowledging that different students will have different priorities and aspirations.

Outlook and engagement
Students will be asked to bring to the course experiences from their own practice, often specifically relating to their own geographical and cultural context, that can be used to explore learning, engage with individuals from other international communities on the programme.

b) Skills:

Research and enquiry
Students will use and further develop newly acquired expertise in accessing the literature and critical appraisal, to incorporate the findings of primary research in their arguments, discussions, and assessments.

Personal and intellectual autonomy
Students will be encouraged to use their own personal and intellectual autonomy through their active participation in self-directed learning, discussion boards and collaborative activities to critically evaluate ideas evidence and experiences from an open-minded perspective.

Personal effectiveness
Success on the course will require students to be effective and proactive learners. Using the resources of the course tutors, and the university learning and information environment, students will be encouraged and supported to contribute to their own learning, as well as that of others.

Excellence in critical care is dependent on excellent communication, and the structure of the interactive (discussion boards and collaborative activities) and assessment elements incorporate constant reinforcement and development of this skill.
Keywordsergonomics; clinical human factors; humane factors; team working,communication,prioritisation
Course organiserDr David Griffith
Course secretaryMrs Kimberley Jamieson
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