Male physician checking a young boy's ear

CMPA case studies — Real learning

  • Text, audio and video vignettes
  • Based on actual cases drawn from the CMPA's extensive experience
Male physician sitting with two female medical students

Lessons learned

At key points, you are prompted to ask:
  • How might I deal with this situation?
  • What practices might help me avoid this kind of problem?
Medical students looking quizzical

Test yourself

  • Each domain has multiple-choice questions with answers
  • Check your knowledge
  • Reinforce learning
Finger on keyboard pressing Education button

eLearning activities

  • Follow the links to special interactive case-based modules
  • Students can earn a statement of completion


The purpose of this Canadian guide is to contribute to safe medical practice and help reduce medical-legal risks.

This guide will be useful to:
  • medical students
  • residents
  • teaching faculty

Other health professionals may also find its content helpful.

An accompanying Faculty Guide (PDF) provides tips and suggestions for using the student and faculty sections effectively.

The value of good practices

Good practices are ways of thinking and acting that the CMPA believes will help physicians provide safe care to patients and reduce medical-legal risk.

These are practices that doctors can rely on.

There are two sections — one for students, the other for faculty. Each includes:

Domains and topics

The guide is organized in colour-coded domains or themes which match the 6 domains of the CPSI-RCPSC Patient Safety Competencies framework  [REF]
Frank JR, Brien S, (Editors) on behalf of The Safety Competencies Steering Committee. The Safety Competencies: Enhancing Patient Safety Across the Health Professions. Canadian Patient Safety Institute, 2008.
. The CMPA has added an additional domain called Professionalism. Each domain is comprised of a number of topics.
Patient safety

1. Patient safety

Safety — a core value
Human factors

5. Human factors

Influences on performance

2. Teams

Working together to make things better
Adverse events

6. Adverse events

When things go wrong

3. Communication

Key to safe patient care

7. Professionalism

Medicine's contract with society
Managing risk

4. Managing risk

Reducing risk improves patient safety
Faculty Resources Index

Faculty Resources Index

Resources for teaching

The Canadian Medical Protective Association

The CMPA provides its physician members with medical-legal advice, legal assistance related to clinical practice, and risk management education. The CMPA is funded and operated on a not-for-profit basis for physicians, by physicians. Its membership comprises most practising physicians in Canada.

The CMPA provides an extensive, evidence-based education program for physicians on managing risk in practice and providing safe care.

Learn more about the CMPA.


The CMPA appreciates the significant help of the many faculty and students of Canadian medical schools, health professionals, and legal counsel who contributed to this guide.

Copyright and using this guide

Share this guide with other students, teachers, and healthcare professionals and feel free to use the materials for non-commercial purposes. Please credit the CMPA when you do so.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.