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Fellowship Patient Safety

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Interdisciplinary Patient Safety Fellowship is a one year program offered by the Office of Academic Affiliations and the National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) at six competitively selected sites. The purpose of the Interprofessional Fellowship Program in Patient Safety is to provide post-residency trained physicians and post doctoral or post masters degree trained associated health professionals (such as nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, social workers and health care administrators) in-depth education in patient safety practice, leadership and research.

The Interprofessional Fellowship Program in Patient Safety links individualized, mentored training at the six training sites to a state-of-the-art curriculum in the science of patient safety improvement. Fellowship sites are linked electronically for didactic, academic and research efforts.

Program Goals: The goal of the Indianapolis VA Interdisciplinary Patient Safety Fellowship training program is to prepare graduates for careers in patient safety leadership, with particular research skills in the areas of redesigning and transforming healthcare delivery. Goals include 1) acquiring practical skills & tools to enhance patient safety in a health system; 2) understanding the value of a systems-based approach to problem solving based upon Human Factors principles; 3) understanding concept of “Safety Culture” in a health system; 4) familiarization with research methodology and its application in patient safety; 5) conduct of a project that results in problem identification and solution implementation; and 6) acquiring leadership skills to enhance the safety of health care delivery in a health system.

Each fellow will select a primary mentor, who along with the fellow, will create a Mentor Panel of content and methodologic experts from our Center, the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., IUPUI or Purdue RCHE, that will meet at least quarterly to assess the fellow's progress in attaining his or her research goals.

Program Overview: The fellowship provides one year of educational, program development and research learning opportunities. Fellows spend their time in training and safety program development and evaluation activities relevant to the VA. Mentors of national stature provide guidance to fellows in rich learning environments.

Curriculum: The one-year curriculum includes training and experience in practical applications of patient safety tools in a VA Medical Center, including: Root Cause Analysis (RCA) teams, Health Care Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (HFMEA) teams, a project involving inquiry into a specific area in patient safety. Formal education re: systems-based approach to problem solving using principles of Human Factors Engineering, Core Reading Assignments, PS reporting system & databases, familiarity with RCA data in database, Experience with safety database searches, advantages and limitations of RCA data, experience w/ implementation of NCPS programs in the VHA, patient safety curriculum, and alerts & advisories. These tools are critical to a fellow’s participation in safety activities at a VA Medical Center, customized training to meet fellows’ needs, and critical to productive relationship with the patient safety manager in a local VAMC. A summer one-week orientation, similar to Intern’s orientation prior to starting internship, is provided during the first month of fellowship (July), in Ann Arbor, MI at the National Center for Patient Safety.

Fellows: Fellows shall spend at least 75 percent of their time on projects and training and no more than 25 percent in clinical care, teaching or administration. Fellows are expected to develop, implement and evaluate a safety project and submit at least one (preferably more) manuscript(s) to a peer-reviewed journal. As a result of their work, they should accomplish at least one of the following: lead interprofessional teams, present at one or more national meetings and/or actively participate in and contribute to organizational change initiatives at the Roudebush VAMC, or in VHA.

Preceptors (mentors): In order to select relevant projects to improving safety, fellows are encouraged to meet with institutional leaders within our VAMC and senior Center faculty. Fellows are to develop individualized learning plans in collaboration with their preceptors (mentors). Mentors should provide assistance with project and research methodology and content, as well as guidance in personal and professional development. For these reasons, several mentors are often needed. These individuals are expected to meet regularly with the fellows to assess their progress, serve as role models, and provide constructive feedback and assistance in meeting the fellows’ goals. Mentors are expected to participate in formative and summative evaluation of fellows and the fellowship program.

Project: All fellows will participate in at least one safety research project to which they make a substantive, independent, and identifiable contribution. The topic of the project should be of direct relevance to VHA's mission, although VA medical facilities do not necessarily have to be the sole sites of the research.

Seminars and Lectures: Fellows are expected to attend weekly research seminars at the VA HSR&D Center of Excellence and the Regenstrief Institute. Faculty scientists present their research at the weekly seminars, which provides an outstanding forum for interdisciplinary learning and dialogue on the latest methods and topics related to health services research, implementation sciences, geriatrics, and other related disciplines. Fellows are expected to present their research findings at our VA Center works-in-progress seminar and/or the Regenstrief Institute seminar at least once each year during the fellowship training program.

All VA post-doctoral fellows will be expected to complete the “Patient Safety (SPEA-H 615, PBHL-H 615, and School of Nursing J 692). course This is a new course taught by Center and campus faculty, including topics such as Observing and Creating a Culture of Safety, Communication and Complexity, Reliability and Design, Methods and Tools To Reduce Harm, Reducing Harm in Specific Areas of Risk, Leadership for Patient Safety, and health Policy Perspective.

Eligibility and Application: Interested candidates should: 1) be a US citizen or permanent resident; 2) have completed clinical training terminal degree (e.g., medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, etc) or a post masters degree trained associated health professionals (such as nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, social workers and health care administrators) or related fields, and 3) demonstrate a special interest in patient safety, human factors or creating high reliability organizations.

Interested candidates must submit a cover letter describing their research interests, fellowship goals and career goals, curriculum vitae and three letters of recommendation. For contact and mailing information return to Fellowship Programs.