Human Factors for Patient Safety

Study options

Award

Key facts

Location:
Centre for Health Innovation Stafford
Location:
Centre for Health Innovation Stafford
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
Duration:
3 Years
Duration:
1 Year
Start date:

Healthcare focus

There’s a growing demand for systems approaches to healthcare safety and quality

Leading experts

Staff are internationally recognised in the healthcare-related human factors field

Active researchers

100% of research impact rated as “very considerable” or “outstanding” in REF 2021

Learn how to become a health systems analyst and use the science of ergonomics to improve patient safety and transform day-to-day working practices.

Safety scientists play a major role in preventing unintended harm across many high-consequence industries, improving overall wellbeing and changing the culture of workplaces. Our MSc in Human Factors for Patient Safety will teach you how to design applied solutions for health and social care settings.

The course is ideal for existing health professionals – from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds - who want to specialise in care safety, risk, improvement and system transformation and advisory roles. These highly transferable skills are also relevant to many other sectors.

The work could range from the design of job tasks, equipment, care processes and procedures through to better training and clearer communication. You’ll be able to make a real difference to the lives of patients, service users, families, carers and staff.

It’s also about creating an organisational environment where staff feel they can speak up about issues of concern.

The Masters – which covers nationally recognised professional competencies - is taught by chartered ergonomics experts and lecturers with a wide range of experience in patient safety and system improvement. They include leading figures in safety science, who have worked in fields as diverse as transport and the nuclear industry.

You will develop a foundational knowledge of human factors and ergonomics and associated tools, techniques and models. As you build your repertoire, you will be able to apply this to cognitive, physical and organisational elements and interactions within your own workplace.

You’ll delve into case studies, incident reports and descriptions of everyday work to see how to design better systems and organisational performance. We’ll also introduce you to different scenarios, filmed using our sector-leading simulation facilities, which really bring topics to life.

And you’ll learn about the importance of methods such as dynamic risk assessment and task analysis. The course will also cover ‘walk-through-talk-through’ to identify systems threats and opportunities on the ground.

Cognitive risk analysis, for example, could include looking at confusing labels, cluttered signage, trip hazards, badly worded instructions and hard-to-follow procedures.

Then there’s how humans interact with technology, including the growing role artificial intelligence is playing in diagnoses and treatment. Ergonomics is about optimising socio-technical interactions at work and finding solutions to problems. Examples could include colour coding drugs packaging to prevent administering the wrong medication to patients.

The multidisciplinary course looks at outcomes ‘in the round’. You will consider how to improve safety, quality, efficiency, equity and sustainability in healthcare, recognising the complexity of everyday work.

We aim to develop a community of practice for students. As the course is delivered through distance learning, you will be able to share experiences and ideas, contribute to discussion boards, take part in peer reviews and learn about health systems outside of your specialist area.

You will also be able to draw on our staff expertise in research. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, 100% of our allied health research impact was classed as “very considerable” or “outstanding”.

As part of the MSc, you’ll produce your own piece of in-depth research – either a dissertation or an evaluation of a project-based change.

As an alternative to the full Masters, students can complete a PGCert in Human Factors for Patient Safety. The PgCert is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors and is mapped against its professional competencies.

Safety scientists play a major role in preventing unintended harm across many high-consequence industries, improving overall wellbeing and changing the culture of workplaces. Our MSc in Human Factors for Patient Safety will teach you how to design applied solutions for health and social care settings.

The course is ideal for existing health professionals – from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds - who want to specialise in care safety, risk, improvement and system transformation and advisory roles. These highly transferable skills are also relevant to many other sectors.

The work could range from the design of job tasks, equipment, care processes and procedures through to better training and clearer communication. You’ll be able to make a real difference to the lives of patients, service users, families, carers and staff.

It’s also about creating an organisational environment where staff feel they can speak up about issues of concern.

The Masters – which covers nationally recognised professional competencies - is taught by chartered ergonomics experts and lecturers with a wide range of experience in patient safety and system improvement. They include leading figures in safety science, who have worked in fields as diverse as transport and the nuclear industry.

You will develop a foundational knowledge of human factors and ergonomics and associated tools, techniques and models. As you build your repertoire, you will be able to apply this to cognitive, physical and organisational elements and interactions within your own workplace.

You’ll delve into case studies, incident reports and descriptions of everyday work to see how to design better systems and organisational performance. We’ll also introduce you to different scenarios, filmed using our sector-leading simulation facilities, which really bring topics to life.

And you’ll learn about the importance of methods such as dynamic risk assessment and task analysis. The course will also cover ‘walk-through-talk-through’ to identify systems threats and opportunities on the ground.

Cognitive risk analysis, for example, could include looking at confusing labels, cluttered signage, trip hazards, badly worded instructions and hard-to-follow procedures.

Then there’s how humans interact with technology, including the growing role artificial intelligence is playing in diagnoses and treatment. Ergonomics is about optimising socio-technical interactions at work and finding solutions to problems. Examples could include colour coding drugs packaging to prevent administering the wrong medication to patients.

The multidisciplinary course looks at outcomes ‘in the round’. You will consider how to improve safety, quality, efficiency, equity and sustainability in healthcare, recognising the complexity of everyday work.

We aim to develop a community of practice for students. As the course is delivered through distance learning, you will be able to share experiences and ideas, contribute to discussion boards, take part in peer reviews and learn about health systems outside of your specialist area.

You will also be able to draw on our staff expertise in research. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, 100% of our allied health research impact was classed as “very considerable” or “outstanding”.

As part of the MSc, you’ll produce your own piece of in-depth research – either a dissertation or an evaluation of a project-based change.

As an alternative to the full Masters, students can complete a PGCert in Human Factors for Patient Safety. The PgCert is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors and is mapped against its professional competencies.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: MSc Human Factors for Patient Safety

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: PgCert Human Factors for Patient Safety

Course content

Modules

The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Cognitive Ergonomics 20 credits
Human Factors And Ergonomics 20 credits
Safety Science For Health And Care Systems 20 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Organisational Ergonomics 20 credits
Physical Ergonomics 20 credits
Research Methods (In Health And Social Care Settings) 20 credits
Show 2 optional modules

Modules

The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Cognitive Ergonomics 20 credits
Human Factors And Ergonomics 20 credits
Safety Science For Health And Care Systems 20 credits

Entry requirements

A degree from a UK university or equivalent is desirable but not essential. We also welcome applications from those with relevant professional experience plus evidence of ability to successfully undertake the course and benefit from it.

International English Requirements: A minimum overall IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.0, with 5.5 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, as administered by the British Council in most countries or equivalent.

The programme is subject to Staffordshire University’s Admissions Policy: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/legal/policies/Staffs-admissions-policy.jsp

A wide range of qualifications are accepted from around the world https://www.staffs.ac.uk/international/your-application-journey/english-language-requirements

Due to the applied science that is the basis of the course, there is a requirement to be employed (or professionally engaged) in an area of health or social care systems.

A degree from a UK university or equivalent is desirable but not essential. We also welcome applications from those with relevant professional experience plus evidence of ability to successfully undertake the course and benefit from it.

International English Requirements: A minimum overall IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.0, with 5.5 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, as administered by the British Council in most countries or equivalent.

The programme is subject to Staffordshire University’s Admissions Policy: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/legal/policies/Staffs-admissions-policy.jsp

A wide range of qualifications are accepted from around the world https://www.staffs.ac.uk/international/your-application-journey/english-language-requirements

Due to the applied science that is the basis of the course, there is a requirement to be employed (or professionally engaged) in an area of health or social care systems.

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.

GO

Facilities

Careers

Successful completion will provide part of your evidence to show your suitability to lead or contribute to human factors developments within your health or social care organisation and to move into roles such as:

  • Incident Investigator
  • Human Factors Specialist
  • Healthcare Manager
  • Clinical Information Officer
  • Director within an NHS Trust
  • Patient Safety and Quality Leader
  • Leader of transformational change programmes
  • Leader of clinical improvement programmes
Teaching and assessment

Teaching

All modules are provided as part-time with one module per term over two years, followed by your MSc research dissertation or project based change. The distance learning approach enables you to engage with the materials from any location and at a time that suits you best.

To help you schedule your time for learning, there will be a regular release of new topic materials. The initial introduction to these materials occurs at a set time but once live, these materials remain available to you for the duration of your course.

This course has been developed to cover the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) professional competencies, with cognisance of the International Ergonomics Association (Ergonomics is an alternative term used for Human Factors) competency requirements. This means that wherever you are based, you know that you will have covered your national competency requirements.

Virtual Learning Environment

The use of the Virtual Learning Environment will enable sharing and collaboration, with the opportunity to watch live webinars, video recordings, power point presentations, simulations and to participate in exercises and group collaborative discussions.

As part of establishing an online community, through the platform you will be able to create smaller groups for project work and group discussions.

There will be a discussion board available for you to participate in live and ongoing discussions, prompted by suggested discussion topics.  This will be supported by tutors to guide conversations and answer any group questions.

You will also be provided with guided extra learning opportunities and formative assessments.

All modules are provided as part-time with one module per term over two years, followed by your MSc research dissertation or project based change. The distance learning approach enables you to engage with the materials from any location and at a time that suits you best.

To help you schedule your time for learning, there will be a regular release of new topic materials. The initial introduction to these materials occurs at a set time but once live, these materials remain available to you for the duration of your course.

This course has been developed to cover the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) professional competencies, with cognisance of the International Ergonomics Association (Ergonomics is an alternative term used for Human Factors) competency requirements. This means that wherever you are based, you know that you will have covered your national competency requirements.

Virtual Learning Environment

The use of the Virtual Learning Environment will enable sharing and collaboration, with the opportunity to watch live webinars, video recordings, power point presentations, simulations and to participate in exercises and group collaborative discussions.

As part of establishing an online community, through the platform you will be able to create smaller groups for project work and group discussions.

There will be a discussion board available for you to participate in live and ongoing discussions, prompted by suggested discussion topics.  This will be supported by tutors to guide conversations and answer any group questions.

You will also be provided with guided extra learning opportunities and formative assessments.

Assessment

There are a variety of assessment methods used throughout all the awards and all modules. This enables you to evaluate your Continuing Professional Development as well as for assessment of your attainment for the PgCert MSc. All the assessment methods used are commensurate with University regulations for Masters level work and are designed to verify that learning outcomes have been achieved.

As part of the assessment strategy, both Formative and Summative assessments will be included. The role of the Formative assessments is to provide an early indication of the level of output you are expected to achieve in order to be successful. This recognises that you may be coming to one of these courses after a long break in academic study.

The CIEHF Portfolio Logbook is introduced in Module One and enables you to engage with the CIEHF professional competencies which guide the course and which are important for those whi may eventually seek Chartership (see www.ergonomics.org.uk for pathways to Chartership).

Other forms of assessment will include critical essays, poster presentations and design-based reports.

You will be provided throughout with the opportunity to seek assessment guidance and feedback from the programme lead and module tutors.

There are a variety of assessment methods used throughout all the awards and all modules. This enables you to evaluate your Continuing Professional Development as well as for assessment of your attainment for the PgCert MSc. All the assessment methods used are commensurate with University regulations for Masters level work and are designed to verify that learning outcomes have been achieved.

As part of the assessment strategy, both Formative and Summative assessments will be included. The role of the Formative assessments is to provide an early indication of the level of output you are expected to achieve in order to be successful. This recognises that you may be coming to one of these courses after a long break in academic study.

The CIEHF Portfolio Logbook is introduced in Module One and enables you to engage with the CIEHF professional competencies which guide the course and which are important for those whi may eventually seek Chartership (see www.ergonomics.org.uk for pathways to Chartership).

Other forms of assessment will include critical essays, poster presentations and design-based reports.

You will be provided throughout with the opportunity to seek assessment guidance and feedback from the programme lead and module tutors.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision, assessment and exam skills (including time management)

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our Student Inclusion Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.

Independent learning

Independent learning is central to all postgraduate level study and is critical for success on distance learning programmes. Each 20-credit module has an associated guide of 200 learning hours, some of which will be through contact hours and some directed study. Additionally, progression of your own knowledge and understanding will be done through reading, reflecting and applying your knowledge and skills to real world examples. By encouraging reflection, the course is designed to help you recognise your current knowledge and skills and to continuously build on this and identify new areas for study.

As part of the approach to supporting your independent study, the University has a central policy to develop an environment which is supportive and enabling and there are several resources to help with this. This includes access to staff who are professionally qualified in Human Factors and are Chartered (Chartered members of the CIEHF), library access, information technology, student guidance, study skills staff and module leaders.

Coaching and Supervision

Part of the role of our staff is to provide you with coaching and supervision, both in terms of understanding and achieving assessment expectations and as support during your MSc research project/dissertation.

Independent learning is central to all postgraduate level study and is critical for success on distance learning programmes. Each 20-credit module has an associated guide of 200 learning hours, some of which will be through contact hours and some directed study. Additionally, progression of your own knowledge and understanding will be done through reading, reflecting and applying your knowledge and skills to real world examples. By encouraging reflection, the course is designed to help you recognise your current knowledge and skills and to continuously build on this and identify new areas for study.

As part of the approach to supporting your independent study, the University has a central policy to develop an environment which is supportive and enabling and there are several resources to help with this. This includes access to staff who are professionally qualified in Human Factors and are Chartered (Chartered members of the CIEHF), library access, information technology, student guidance, study skills staff and module leaders.

Coaching and Supervision

Part of the role of our staff is to provide you with coaching and supervision, both in terms of understanding and achieving assessment expectations and as support during your MSc research project/dissertation.

Staff

Dr Al Ross

Associate Professor

I am a Chartered Ergonomist and Human Factors expert and a Chartered Psychologist with a wide-ranging research and teaching interest in system safety and improvement.

Al's profile

Dr Paul Bowie

Professor

I am a chartered ergonomist & human factors expert and a healthcare safety and improvement researcher. My research mainly focuses on safety investigation practices and translation and evaluation of human factors concepts and methods to healthcare.

Paul's profile

Dr Edward Tolhurst

Senior Lecturer

I am a Senior Lecturer and qualitative researcher in the field of dementia, ageing and care. I am based in the Postgraduate team and course leader for the MSc in Medical Education. I am also a member of the University Research Ethics Committee.

Edward's profile

Dr Jessica Runacres

Senior Lecturer

Senior Lecturer in Research Practice in the school of Health, Science, and Wellbeing. Mixed methods researcher, PGR Lead, and PhD Course Lead.

Jessica's profile

Fees

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Alumni discount

If you have previously completed an undergraduate degree with us, you may be entitled to an alumni discount off your course fee for any subsequent postgraduate taught course. For further information please contact feesandbursaries@staffs.ac.uk.

Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

Providing you are studying towards a full Masters qualification you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with tuition fees, maintenance and other associated costs. Student loans are available for many of our postgraduate degrees and are provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC). The loan can cover a wide range of postgraduate study options; part-time, full-time and distance learning. 

For more information and how to apply visit masters loan.

Apply

Applications are not currently available for this course.

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations

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