Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Active participation of 'real-time' patients in undergraduate medical education

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Doyin AlaoORCiD, Dr Bryan BurfordORCiD, Professor Hugh Alberti, Dr Susan Moloney, Professor David Kennedy, Professor Gill Vance


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Background:The importance of direct patient contact for medical student learning is widely accepted. Benefits include improvedconfidence, motivation and empathy, and potential to promote patient-centred practice [1,2].The ‘patient’s voice’ is increasingly emphasized in educational strategies. However, much of this has focused onpatients who have been recruited to have a primary educational role [3,4]. Students also benefit from contact with‘real-time’ patients who have diverse health needs. The involvement of these patients does not usually extend tohaving an active part in the learning encounter, where the patient completes a potential triadic relationship withthe clinical teacher and student.This research is aimed at identifying ways to enhance the active participation of ‘real-time’ patients in medicalstudents’ training.Methodology:The study utilises a pragmatic approach. Methods include questionnaire survey, focus groups with patients,followed by a focus group with medical students.An initial questionnaire survey was conducted to assess patients’ views and factors affecting these, their knowledgeof medical education, and willingness to participate in different scenarios. This was followed by four focus groupswith patients where findings from the questionnaire survey were elaborated to explore contextual detail andidentify ways by which patients’ active involvement can be enhanced. The focus group data was audio-taped,anonymised and transcribed to be analysed using thematic analysis.The findings from the patient data will inform a further focus group with medical students where their views willbe sought on what students need to gain most from the learning situation, whilst respecting patients’ autonomy.Results:Results from the focus groups with patients will be presented. A total of twenty-three participants attended thefour focus groups. Thirteen codes have been developed which can be grouped into patient, doctor, and studentfactors, as well as factors relating to the encounter which may affect patients’ active involvement in medicaleducation.Findings suggest that patients are generally positive about their involvement in medical education for altruism andpersonal benefits. They are also satisfied with their previous experience with medical students, and describedmedical students as being professional and thorough. Patients would like the opportunity to give feedback to thestudents, as well as receive feedback on the impact of their involvement.There is some ambiguity among patients on what their involvement with the students might entail. Barriers topatients’ involvement include lack of awareness among patients of its benefits and personal reasons. The doctor’sattitude has an influence on the ease with which the patient may participate in the learning dialogue.Discussion:This research has provided insights into patients’ perspectives towards their involvement in medical education.The findings are in keeping with previous research which suggest that patients are positive towards involvement inmedical education [5-7]. Issues which may affect patients’ active involvement include: their awareness aboutmedical education, nature of the clinical problem, attitude of the doctor, consent and feedback.The data will provide evidence for a practical framework to encourage and prepare patients to take an active rolein educational processes.A further project is underway to disseminate empirical research findings to clinical teachers and patient educators.This will generate recommendations for incorporation into the medical curriculum.References:1. Towle A, Bainbridge L, Godolphin W, et al. Active patient involvement in the education of health professionals. Medical Education, 2010; 44: 64-74.2. Lucas B, Pearson D. Patient perceptions of their role in undergraduate medical education within a primary care teaching practice. Education for PrimaryCare, 2012; 23: 277-85.3. Spencer J, Godolphin W, Karpenko N, Towle A. Can patients be teachers? Involving patients and service users in healthcare professionals’ education.London: The Health Foundation, 2011.4. Towle A, Godolphin W. Patients as teachers: promoting their authentic and autonomous voices. Clin Teach, 2015; 12: 149–154.5. Cooke F, Galasko G, Ramrakha V, et al. Medical students in general practice: How do patients feel? British Journal of General Practice, 1996; 46: 361-362.6. Haffling A, Hakansson A. Patients consulting with students in general practice: Survey of patients’ satisfaction and their role in teaching. Medical Teacher,2008; 30: 622–9.7. Chipp E, Stonely S, Cooper K. Clinical placements for medical students: factors affecting patients’ involvement in medical education. Medical Teacher,2004; 26: 114-9.Ref

Publication metadata

Author(s): Alao A, Burford B, Alberti H, Hrisos S, Kennedy D, Vance G

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Association for the Study of Medical Education Annual Scientific Meeting

Year of Conference: 2017

Pages: 87-87

Online publication date: 23/06/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: Association for the Study of Medical Education