Scientific publications

Palliative Care Bedside Teaching: A Qualitative Analysis of Medical Students' Reflective Writings after Clinical Practices

Feb 1, 2017 | Magazine: Journal of Palliative Medicine

Rocío Rojí 1 , Antonio Noguera-Tejedor 1  2 , Fernando Pikabea-Díaz 3 , José Miguel Carrasco 2 , Carlos Centeno 1  2

Context: A mandatory course in palliative care (PC) is organized for all final-year medical students at the University of Navarre. It consists of 24 lectures, 4 workshops, and 1 scheduled five hour clinical PC service experience at two different sites. In the 48 hours after the visit and related to the clinical experience, each student has to complete a 500-word reflective writing (RW) piece.

Objective: To investigate how a brief PC clinical experience helps equip the medical student.

Methods: Qualitative study of RW. Two researchers produced a content analysis of students' RW. They collaboratively developed themes and categories with a constant review of the classification tree and an exhaustive collection of quotes. Differences between services were analyzed (λ2).

Results: One hundred sixty-seven RW were analyzed from the 197 students on the course (response rate 85%). Six major themes emerged: All the students identified central aspects of PC work dynamics; students acquired specific PC knowledge (86%); the personal influence of the experience was reported (68%); students described how patients and their caregivers deal with the patients' illness (68%); students talked about the essence of PC and essential aspects of medicine (42%); students reported spontaneously having changed their assumptions about PC (15%); and they realized that the experience was relevant to all clinical practice. Categories such as teamwork, the expression of patients' and caregivers' feelings, and family devotion showed statistical differences between services (λ2 p < 0.05).

Conclusion: A short bedside clinical experience in PC, encouraging student reflection, provides a deeper understanding of PC and even of core medicine values. The data we gather cannot explain only new skill acquisition but seems to suggest a life-changing personal experience for the student.

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO  J Palliat Med. 2017 Feb;20(2):147-154.
doi: 10.1089/jpm.2016.0192. Epub 2016 Oct 18