Medical Air Assistance at Erasmus MC

Erasmus MC Rotterdam

University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam University and NLR organize course in patient safety.

In December 2013, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam University and the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) organized a practical course in patient safety. The course was taught by a multidisciplinary team of lecturers that included experts in aviation, medicine, nursing and behavioural sciences. Lectures were given to a mixed group of physicians and nurses in training. This approach was chosen because it reflects the composition of the teams of professionals that operate in hospitals.

In total, some 400 medical students and 80 nurses in training examined the issue of safety in the aviation industry and the care sector. The course is mandatory for fourth-year medical students. The trainee nurses took part on a voluntary basis this year, with plans to permanently incorporate the course into nursing training programmes in the future.

The lecturers discussed key insights from the aviation industry, which were then immediately applied to a case study relating to hospital practice. A key principle during the course was that ‘to err is human’, with particular focus on the areas of communication and coordination. One aim of the course was to make students more aware of this fact, and to help them develop ways of dealing with it. The topics discussed included learning from incidents, recognizing threats and risks, and the necessity of creating an open organizational culture based on safe working practices and a willingness to provide and receive feedback.

For many years, NLR has been involved in initiatives aimed at improving safety in aviation. Our activities range from helping to develop safety policy, conducting risk analyses, supporting the implementation of safety management systems, and organizing training courses. NLR believes its mission as a national knowledge organization includes sharing its expertise and experience with other sectors of society, including the medical sector.