Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
OfferedAlfred Hospital First semester 2015 (Flexible)
Coordinator(s)Professor Joseph Ibrahim and Dr Stuart Marshall


This unit provides students with skills and knowledge in the new and exciting field of ''human factors'' and, in particular, how this relates to health and what opportunities exist for patient safety efforts.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to have:

  1. In-depth understanding of common human factors issues impacting in healthcare settings, what their effect on human performance are hand how other domains can provide lessons for health;
  2. An understanding of human error theories and an appreciation of barriers and safeguards to error and the factors that degrade these in healthcare;
  3. An awareness of the concept of resilience and how people offer a layer of protection, in spite of the high cognitive and physical workload demands that healthcare places on its workers;
  4. An in depth understanding of risk perception and safety culture and their impact on frontline behaviours in healthcare settings;
  5. A knowledge and appreciation of the risks involved in poorly planned technology innovation in high-risk domains like healthcare and the role of design and risk assessment;
  6. An appreciation of the current systems of accountability (or lack thereof) that exist in healthcare and their impact on both incident investigation and organisational learning.


Critical appraisal (2,000 words) (20%)
Reflective essay (2,000 words) (30%)
Online class participation (50%)

Workload requirements

Off-campus students:
12 hours per week, broken down into (on average) 4 hours per week for reading core material, 4 hours per week completing exercises (manual, computer-based, or online), 2 hours per week for online communication via MUSO discussions, and 2 hours per week for assignment preparation.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

15 hours over 2 block days.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate course.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: