Psychological safety in medical education: A scoping review and synthesis of the literature

Link to article at PubMed

Med Teach. 2023 Jun 2:1-10. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2023.2216863. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Psychological safety (PS) is the belief that the environment is safe for risk taking. Available data point to a lack of PS in medical education. Based on literature in other fields, PS in clinical learning environments (CLEs) could support trainee well-being, belonging, and learning. However, the literature on PS in medical education has not been broadly assessed.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2020, authors searched PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, Scopus, ERIC, PsycInfo, and JSTOR for articles published prior to January 2020. Authors screened all search results for eligibility using specific criteria. Data were extracted and thematic analysis performed.

RESULTS: Fifty-two articles met criteria. The majority focused on graduate medical education (45%), and 42% of studies took place within a CLE. Articles addressed organizational and team level constructs (58%), with fewer descriptions of specific behaviors of team members that promote or hinder safety. The impacts of safe environments for trainees and patients are areas in need of more exploration.

DISCUSSION: Future research should focus on defining specific organizational and interpersonal leader behaviors that promote PS, seek to understand how PS is determined by individual trainees, and measure the impact of PS on learners, learning, and patient care outcomes.

PMID:37266963 | DOI:10.1080/0142159X.2023.2216863

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