POM5005 - Human factors for patient safety - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Anaesthesia Teaching and Research

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Paul Myles


Stuart Marshall
Raphaela Schnittker

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital


Must be enrolled in one of the following course codes 3896, M6027, 3900, M5007, M6008, M6023, M6024, M6026, M6027.


This unit provides an introduction to the science of Human Factors (Ergonomics) and how it applies to the health system and patient care.

It introduces key concepts of safety science and how human factors affect organisations and systems at a large scale (also termed Macroergonomics).

This unit is only available to students in the Master of Medicine or those with a clinical background.


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

  1. Outline the wide ranging, multidisciplinary nature of human factors engineering and discuss how lessons from other domains have been applied to health.
  2. Explain the alignment between incident reporting systems and accident causation models.
  3. Explain the concepts of 'Safety II' and 'Resilience' and apply them to an area of health care.
  4. Describe how risk perception is affected by psychological, cultural and personal experiences
  5. Explain the differences between safety culture and climate and why they are important in clinical settings
  6. Apply principles of reporting systems, accountability and organisational learning to the investigation of a failed clinical service.


  • Short essay (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Literature review (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Major Essay (3,000 words) (50%) (hurdle)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week on average

  • 6 hours per week for self-directed learning
  • 6 hours per week for teacher-directed learning

See also Unit timetable information

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