Patient Safety training & research programme



Katerina ILIOPOULOU RN, PhD – Quality Improvement Research in ICU, NHS Lothian Scotland, Edinburgh (UK); ESICM N&AHPs Committee Chair.

Jos LATOUR RN, PhD – Professor in Clinical Nursing and Associate Head of School, Research, University of Plymouth, Plymouth (UK); ESICM Ethics Section Chair.

Kateřina RUSINOVÁ MD, PhD – Head, Department of Palliative Medicine, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic

Elena SANCHO MD – Consultant, Intensive Care Medicine, Médecins Sans Frontières, University of Barcelona (ES); ESICM NEXT Committee member.

Andreas VALENTIN MD, MBA, Prof. – Head, Department of Internal Medicine with Cardiology & Intensive Care Medicine, Vienna Health Care Group; Professor at Medical University of Vienna (Austria); member of the Task Force on Safety and Quality of ESICM, created in 2009

Patient safety is an integral part of the quality agenda. While the Institute of Medicine in 1999 described safety as the absence of clinical error, either by commission (unintentionally doing the wrong thing) or omission (unintentionally not doing the right thing), and error as the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim, WHO defines safety as the reduction of risk of unnecessary harm to an acceptable minimum.

Healthcare processes have become very complex and technologically advanced, increasing the risks of error and the potential severity of their impact. While the legal framework at both the European and national levels is an essential part of patient safety, they only represent one side of the coin. The traditional approach to patient safety education should be complemented with a greater emphasis on patient safety culture and its contribution to the quality of care beyond the simple avoidance of error. 

In 2009, as part of a series of actions to raise the awareness of both professionals and the public on the issue of patient safety, ESICM initiated a task force with the aim of improving the safety and quality of care provided to critically ill patients. This initiative was the follow-up of a series of ESICM-supported studies investigating the level of patient safety events in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) around Europe and subsequently documented the scale of the problem.

This task force developed a directive for change that was signed by 57 national and international critical care organisations in the Vienna Declaration. One of the outputs that this task force achieved was the identification of a set of indicators that could be used to measure the quality of care provided in any ICU to drive future improvements in performance (read the full article here). 

The current learning pathway comes in continuation of the previous efforts undertaken by ESICM to support learning and research in patient safety. No policy, technological innovation or financial investment will significantly improve the quality of care and patient safety without qualified healthcare professionals and other professionals involved in healthcare delivery (Joint statement of the 2017 HPP thematic network on medical training and professional development for patient safety).

This hybrid training programme will allow participants to acquire, apply and integrate knowledge and skills through live interactive sessions, fellowships & research. The programme includes:

1. Live interactive sessions (May 2023). A total of 4 live interactive sessions will be organised online on

  1. History of safety research and implementation science (May 2, 2023, from 13:00 to 15:00 CEST)
  2. Patient safety in the OR (May 9, 2023, from 13:00 to 15:00 CEST)
  3. Patient safety in the ICU (May 16, 2023, from 13:00 to 15:00 CEST)
  4. Organisational concepts of patient safety-centred interventions (May 22, 2023, from 13:00 to 15:00 CEST)

2. Fellowships (July-October 2023). A total of 15 fellowships will be conducted in centres around Europe, giving fellows the opportunity to experience patient safety in real-life settings and learn directly from experts. Fellowship-related costs (accommodation and travel) up to 1,000 EUR/fellow will be reimbursed by ESICM.

Eligibility and applications for fellowships:

  1. Applications open to participants from any professional background
  2. Must be a member of the ESICM (so join us now if not already a member!)
  3. Fellowships will be awarded on basis of application, attendance at all 4 live interactive sessions and highest performance in the quizzes.

Fellowship centres and dates will be published in due time.

3. Research competition & awards (June – October 2023). The competition consists of 2 phases:

Phase I (June 2023):

  • Launch of abstracts
  • Notification winners/invitation for full research proposal

Phase II (July-September 2023):

  • Submission of full research proposal
  • Identification of the best two proposals
  • Notification winners. The prize for each winner is 10 000 €.

Research awards: at LIVES Milan (October 21-25, 2023).

Intensivists and intensive care nurses with a high interest in patient safety.

Eligibility and applications for fellowships:

  • Applications are open to participants from any professional background (ICU staff)
  • Must be a member of the ESICM (so join us now if not already a member!)
  • Fellowships will be awarded on basis of application, attendance at all 4 live interactive sessions and highest performance in the quizzes.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Philips. The programme has not been influenced in any way by its sponsor.

Further questions? Contact us at