Monday, June 21, 2010
Medical Student Training: Hospice Patients and Staff (Research)
I was sitting on a hospital examining table while contemplating when I could get dressed and escape. That’s when a doctor walked in with ten medical students in tow, all eager to hear about this new exhibit—me. A former school principal, I totally support minds being terrible things to waste and nobody being left behind. But having a group of strangers walk in unannounced under these circumstances was uncomfortable. And I wasn’t even a hospice patient.
How do hospice patients feel about being participants in the training of medical students? Is it annoying being scrutinized by groups of students while patients struggle with their own health issues? What about the healthcare staff? Do they welcome opportunities to participate in educating others through patient contact, or do they view these experiences as inconvenient for them and intrusive to the terminally ill?
Hospice patients and staff were interviewed regarding their views on involvement in the training of medical students. The research results indicate that hospice patients are “strongly positive” about meeting medical students. Staff members carefully select patients based on specific issues. When done appropriately, training medical students with hospice patients and staff can be a win-win experience for everyone.
Frances Shani Parker, Author