Inspired Teaching

Psychological Safety and the Clinical Learning Environment

 Guest: Dr. Brigitte K. Smith (University of Utah) @Brig13Smith1 

📅 Tuesday, December 15, 2020

💻 Delivered virtually

The concept of “psychological safety” in the workplace has been well described, including in medicine and healthcare, with a focus on work engagement, quality improvement, error reporting and team performance.  An emerging body of literature has begun to explore the application of psychological safety principles to medical education and the clinical learning environment.  Faculty and programs that foster psychologically safe learning environments may enhance learning outcomes, mitigate burnout, and improve patient safety.  Identifying and implementing strategies to intentionally establish psychological safety for students and residents are critical to the future of medical education. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this virtual event, participants will be able to:

1.   Define psychological safety and discuss how this concept relates to medical education and the clinical learning environment.

2.   Describe the “emotional risks” that are inherent to learning and how “impression management” influences the risks learners do or do not take.

3.   Discuss strategies for creating psychological safety in the clinical learning environment. 


Dr. Brigitte Smith (@Brig13Smith) is an assistant professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She is the Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Surgery and also serves as the Program Director for the Vascular Surgery Fellowship.  Her academic focus is surgical education research with specific interests in educational program outcomes, optimization of the clinical learning environment, and qualitative methods.  She was recently inducted into the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. 


Dr. Teresa Chan (@TChanMD) is an associate professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine at McMaster University.  She is the assistant dean for McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Program for Faculty Development (@MacPFD).  She is an avid scholar in health professions education and works with the MERIT group (@MERIT_McMaster), and conducts research and scholarship within this area.