Pediatric resident education about medical errors

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Analysis of Variance; Curriculum; Female; Humans; *Internship and Residency; Male; Medical Errors; Pediatrics; United States


Health Services Research | Medical Education | Primary Care


BACKGROUND: National organizations have called for patient safety curricula to help reduce the incidence of errors. Little is known about what trainees are taught about medical errors.

OBJECTIVE: 1) To determine the amount and type of training that pediatric residents have about medical errors and 2) to assess pediatric chief resident knowledge about medical errors.

METHODS: We surveyed chief residents from a national sample of 51 pediatric training programs by selecting every fourth program from the American Council on Graduate Medical Education list of accredited programs. The 21-item telephone survey was developed with patient safety specialists and piloted on several chief residents. It asked about patient-safety training sessions and awareness and knowledge about medical errors.

RESULTS: The 51 chief residents helped teach 2176 residents, approximately one third of all pediatric residents. One third of programs had no lectures about medical errors and 23% did not have morbidity and mortality rounds. Sixty-one percent of respondents stated that outpatient medical errors were rarely discussed. Informal teaching was most often reported as the primary method for educating residents about medical errors. Although 58% of respondents did not know that a systemic change should be made in response to a medical error, 83% felt that residents are adequately trained to deal with a medical error.

DISCUSSION: Pediatric resident education about medical errors varies widely. Attention by pediatric residency training programs to this important issue seems limited.

DOI of Published Version



Ambul Pediatr. 2004 Nov-Dec;4(6):514-7. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Ambulatory pediatrics : the official journal of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association


At the time of publication, Kathleen Walsh was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID