Quality & Safety

Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course (online)

Be a champion and leader of patient safety in your organization




The Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course (CPSO) is jointly developed and delivered by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and HealthCareCAN, supported by experts from across Canada and internationally.

The Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course equips healthcare professionals and leaders with the information, tools and techniques to build a strong patient safety culture within their organizations.

Course at-a-glance

  • 100 hours of learning, with up to 12 months to complete
  • Enrol anytime
  • Supported by dedicated faculty coaches
  • Live webinars delivered by subject matter experts
  • Opportunities to interact online with peers and faculty
  • Includes eight modules and a final project
  • Also available once a year as an in-person course 

Who should take the Canadian Patient Safety Officer course?

This program is designed for healthcare professionals and leaders who have the formal responsibility of disseminating patient safety principles and programs throughout the organization. Registrants may be (but are not limited to):

  • Personnel responsible for quality improvement of patient safety
  • Clinical and non-clinical healthcare managers
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Educators
  • Allied health professionals
  • Any healthcare professional interested in managing and improving patient safety 

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Use tools and techniques to develop a patient safety program
  • Recognize system-induced patient safety incidents
  • Recognize human factors related to patient safety, such as non-technical skills or fatigue
  • Understand high-risk clinical processes
  • Develop strategies to influence and enhance patient safety culture
  • Foster communication, teamwork, and organizational culture as it relates to patient safety
  • Examine other special and emerging topics in patient safety


There are no awards available for this course or program at this time. Click here to learn more about student awards.


 Leah Gitterman, MHScAbout
 Pauline MacDonald MHA, CHEAbout
 Darlene Boliver, BN, MAdEdAbout
 Shannon Moore, BSc, PCPAbout
 Helen MargiottaAbout
 Samantha HamiltonAbout


To be successful in the Canadian Patient Safety Officer course, students must meet the following requirements.



English is the language of instruction for all CHA Learning courses. It is therefore recommended that students be competent in reading, writing and speaking English.


Students must have basic computer knowledge and internet navigation skills; and access to a computer with Window 7 or higher.

Please note:

  • Students choosing to use Mac or Linux operating system must have experience using alternate remote access software.
  • CHA Learning staff can only assist Windows operating system users and provide technical support in relation to our website; we do not provide technical support for internet and/or basic computer use.

Other technical requirements:

CHA Learning Technical Requirements
Screen Resolution800×600 (minimum); 1024×768 (recommended)
Internet BrowsersThe most recent version of one of the following:

Google Chrome
Internet Explorer
Microsoft Edge
Plug-insPop-up blocker: disabled
Java Script: Enabled
Cookies: Enabled
Internet Connection Broadband (cable or DSL) connection required
SoftwareWord processing software, Adobe Reader
Recommend knowledge and comfort using Microsoft Excel

Enrolment Process

There are no application prerequisites for this course. To enrol:

  1. Click on the enrol/apply button
  2. Add the product to your cart
  3. Create an account if you are new to CHA Learning or sign in to your existing account
  4. Complete the Billing Information page
  5. Enter your payment information, accept the terms and conditions and make your payment
  6. Within seven business days you will receive an email with instructions to access the course/program materials and provide your resume.


Students will be evaluated on eight quizzes, three assignments, a reflection assignment, webinars and a final project.

To achieve a certificate, students must earn a grade of 60% or greater on the final project and the overall course grade. 

Course Certificate

CHA Learning and Canadian Patient Safety Institute will award students a certificate for successful completion of the course.



  • $2,295 for Canadians
  • $2,495 for International Students

Please note: Bulk registration discounts are available for groups. Please review the Group Enrolment information here.

All prices listed above are in CAD.

Required textbook:

The required textbook must be purchased independently by the student, it is not included in the tuition price.

Book title: “Patient Safety, 2nd Edition” authored by Charles Vincent

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:


  • ISBN: 978-1-405-19221-7


  • ISBN: 978-1-444-34807-1

More information will be provided after enrolment


The CPSO course includes eight units:

Unit 1: What is Patient Safety?

  • Recognizing patient safety from a systems level perspective across the continuum of care
  • Summarizing  key points in the  history of the patient safety movement both nationally and globally
  • Explaining basic language and common terms used in patient safety with reference to WHO taxonomy
  • Citing examples of major findings from benchmark studies including the “Canadian Adverse Events Study”
  • Describing the relative contribution of the individual and the system to patient safety

Unit 2: High Reliability and Resiliency in Healthcare—Using a Complexity Science Lens

  • Defining complexity science
  • Describing key attributes of high reliability organizations and how they relate to healthcare
  • Applying elements of a safety management system taken from high reliability organizations
  • Recognizing the principles of reliability science
  • Explaining how the elements of resiliency contribute to safer care
  • Recognizing opportunities to improve patient safety through the use of standardization
  • Explaining how measurement can be used to monitor, improve, and sustain reliable system performance

Unit 3: Human Factors—Designed for Patient Safety

  • Defining human factors and human factors engineering
  • Applying human factors theory to patient safety situations
  • Examining patient safety situations using the “Human-tech Ladder”
  • Discussing the importance of cognitive biases and their impact on patient safety
  • Applying the ‘hierarchy of effectiveness’ to patient safety situations

Unit 4: Safety Culture Measurement & Improvement

  • Defining “Just Culture”
  • Differentiating between culpable and non-culpable acts
  • Understanding the nature and importance of culture and relationship with patient safety
  • Evaluating current culture – Measure, track, and monitor culture
  • Identifying and testing ideas to improve the patient care experience

Unit 5: Teams & Communication for Safer Patient Care

  • Gaining an appreciation for the degree to which “non-technical” human error contributes to incidents and accidents
  • Understanding the essential components of Crew Resource Management, its use, its challenges, and its potential application within the healthcare environment
  • Understanding how current and emerging (CRM) tools and techniques are being used to help enhance communication, team synergy, and trap error
  • Informing the patient, family, healthcare organization, media and the broader community after a critical incident (this will include the development of a crisis communication plan and the building of key messages for the specified target audience)
  • Using a variety of communication tools and techniques to enhance and assess understanding on the part of patients and their families
  • Explaining the relationship between effective teamwork and improved patient care and safe

Unit 6: Incident Management—Preventing, Managing, Learning and Sharing Patient Safety Incidents

  • Describing a culture supportive of reporting, disclosing, learning and sharing
  • Establishing a clear and consistent approach to disclosure and apology related to harm that supports patients, families and healthcare providers to heal and rebuild trust
  • Applying the “Canadian Incident Analysis Framework” using the six-step incident management continuum
  • Identifying the key elements of an effective communication approach when working with patients, families, healthcare organizations, media and the broader community after a critical incident
  • Developing a crisis communication plan and then building key messages for specified target audiences
  • Predicting a range of responses healthcare providers and their families may experience during and following an adverse event

Unit 7: Using Quality Improvement Methods to Create a Safer Healthcare System

  • Using the Model for Improvement to guide setting AIMs, establishing measures, identifying change ideas, and testing those changes through PDSA cycles
  • Using improvement charters to document and communicate the aim, identify the team and the plan for testing and implementing changes
  • Integrating change management approaches to minimize resistance and maximize success of patient safety initiatives
  • Embedding measurement and evaluation techniques into your patient safety program.
  • Developing system level strategies for achieving, sustaining, and spreading better practices
  • Applying Front-Line Ownership (Liberating Structures and Positive Deviance) techniques to move from the “what to do” to the “how to do” when facilitating improvement work

Unit 8: Capability Building – Strategy & Structure

  • Recognizing the central role patients and families have in creating a safer healthcare system
  • Identifying key strategic and operational factors for successful change management
  • Mitigating against or manage disruptive conflict during change
  • Describing the role of board and senior leadership in supporting quality patient safety improvement
  • Understanding the physician perspective in establishing partnerships for quality and patient safety improvement
  • Identifying appropriate levers to support quality and patient safety improvement