Improving patient safety through professional development

“Your schooling may be over, but remember that your education still continues.”

This quote from an unknown author can often be heard during graduations and commencement ceremonies.

It serves a as reminder to those wearing the caps and gowns and who are collecting their degrees and diplomas that the pursuit of knowledge is one that lasts a lifetime. We should never lose that sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around us or feel content that we’ve heard or seen it all.

Just about any profession you could name requires a person to continue building their skill sets and improving upon what they’ve already learned and mastered, even if they’re years removed from their days as a full-time student.

This is especially important in the medical profession where continuing education can be difference between a successful outcome for a patient and one that results in harm, and in some cases, death.

That being said, we all know how quickly the healthcare system moves and how easy it can be to put other things ahead of our professional development – something that should never happen when a person’s health is in your hands.

Healthcare providers need continuing education solutions that were developed and are delivered by healthcare providers.

Healthcare organizations need practical and focused solution to continuing education that ensure their providers are on top of their game.

This is where the Advancing Safety for Patients in Residency Education (ASPIRE) program comes in.

Developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, the ASPIRE program is a national faculty development certificate program on patient safety for physicians. ASPIRE is an intense, focused, 4-day educational event dedicated to enhancing the capacity of healthcare organizations to provide patient safety training.

Taking place at The Royal College in Ottawa from April 14 to 18, 2013, the ASPIRE course, includes comprehensive patient safety content mapped to The Safety Competencies framework, and will utilize established delivery mechanisms to form the basis for a customized train-the-trainer program focusing on medical educators in specialty and family medicine, and practicing physicians. The ASPIRE faculty is made up of physician educators and the content of the program includes a comprehensive selection of patient safety topics relevant to helping residents acquire entry to practice abilities.

Participants return to their organizations with an educational plan tailored to their institution and its needs. They also return as trained faculty resource champions who are able to disseminate what they’ve learned among their colleagues.

If we’re to provide high-quality and safe care, professional development and continuing education are vital to our healthcare system and programs such as ASPIRE can go a long way towards ensuring those we entrust with our well-being in our time of need are able to deliver the best care possible.

For more information on this unique program and the impact it can have on patient safety and professional development in your organization, visit or contact Tammy Hesson at