Patient safety in Bhutan

26 June 2012

Rinchen Pelzang's research shows Deakin connected to a broader world.

Rinchen Pelzang has a very clear idea of what he wants to get from his four year-stint at Deakin University.

“My key aim is to improve understanding of patient safety issues and inform the development of local solutions, in Bhutan, and elsewhere in South-East Asia,” said the PhD student who is in Australia through a 2012 Prime Ministers Australia-Asia Incoming Postgraduate Endeavour Award.

“Patient safety is a hot issue in my country of Bhutan.

“Like many countries in South-East Asia, Bhutan is a low income country.

“Patient safety issues are not well documented, neither defined, nor well understood; and health care professionals find themselves constantly challenged.”

The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia.

It is located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and has borders with India and China.

Rinchen Pelzang’s qualitative, exploratory descriptive study done in conjunction with Deakin University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and supervised by Professor Megan-Jane Johnstone and Associate Professor Alison Hutchinson will be the first of its kind to be conducted in Bhutan.

It will investigate the nature and extent of patient safety concerns within Bhutan’s health care system. 

“The study is in keeping with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Patient Safety global research program which says ‘understanding the magnitude of the problem and the main contributing factors is essential in order to devise appropriate solutions,” said Professor Johnstone, who holds the Chair in Nursing at Deakin.

“It also shows how our Deakin is connected to a much broader world.”

The key research question which this study aims to address is: What is the nature and extent of patient safety problems in Bhutan?

Related questions to be addressed include:

  1. What patient safety policies and guidelines have been developed and operationalized in the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan?
  2. What are health service providers and manager’s knowledge, perceptions, understanding, and experiences of patient safety in Bhutan’s national, regional and district hospitals?
  3. What are the factors that health service providers and managers have identified as most contributing to patient safety concerns in Bhutan’s national, regional and district hospitals?
  4. What strategies are needed to address the patient safety problems and concerns identified?’

“From my point of view, this is only the beginning,” Rinchen Pelzang said.

“Once these issues and solutions have been identified I would like to continue work on implementing them in my country, and also to use the knowledge to help improve patient safety in other low income countries as well.”

Study Nursing and Midwifery at Deakin

Rinchen Pelzang This is only the beginning, says Rinchen Pelzang

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