Metacognition in Patient Safety

Ian Walsh, Andrew Spence, James Murray

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


OBJECTIVES: To determine if cognitive reflection has a positive influence on clinical decision making in undergraduate medical students. METHODS: 153 final year undergraduate medical students completed a 3 hour interactive Safe Thinking Workshop on nontechnical skills and patient safety, incorporating an introduction to metacognitive concepts. All students underwent augmented Cognitive Reflective Testing during the workshop. Students then inspected and interpreted a set of arterial blood gas results relating to a patient with acute respiratory distress, then answered a short questionnaire addressing biochemical diagnosis, clinical diagnosis and effective management. A separate question was embedded in the questionnaire to determine if astute students could determine the severity of the illness. The study group (n = 78) completed the questionnaire immediately after the Safe Thinking Workshop, whilst the control group (n = 75) completed the questionnaire prior to the Workshop.RESULTS: The mean total score for study students was 80.51%, with a mean total score of 57.9% for the control group (t-test; p<0.05). Correct classification of illness severity was observed in 13.2% of study students, compared with 4.1% of control students (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that clinical decision making and recognition of illness severity can be enhanced by specific teaching in nontechnical skills, metacognitiion and cognitive reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2015
EventINMED Annual Scientific Meeting - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 19 Feb 201520 Feb 2015


ConferenceINMED Annual Scientific Meeting
Internet address


  • metacognition
  • cognition
  • patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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