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Student perceptions of a patient- centered medical training curriculum

Ashley Gallentine1, Abraham A. Salinas-Miranda1, Kathy Bradley-Klug2, Emily Shaffer-Hudkins3, Sara Hinojosa2 and Alicia Monroe3

1College of Public Health, University of South Florida, USA

2College of Education, University of South Florida, USA

3Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, USA

Submitted: 16/01/2014; Accepted: 10/05/2014; Published: 25/05/2014

Int J Med Educ. 2014; 5:95-102; doi: 10.5116/ijme.536e.26b2

© 2014 Ashley Gallentine et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: To evaluate a patient-centered medical training curriculum, the SELECT program, through perceptions of the inaugural student cohort.

Methods: Data were collected from two focus groups conducted in the university setting, comprised of fifteen first-year medical students who participated in the SELECT program during its inaugural year. A questioning protocol was used to guide the focus group discussion, which was transcribed and hand-coded through thematic analyses.

Results: Various themes related to patient-centered care were identified. Students noted changes in their attitudes towards interacting with patients in an empowering and educative manner as a result of communication and motivational interviewing exercises. Additionally, they recognized certain external, structural barriers as well as internal conflict between pragmatism and emotional intelligence that could potentially hinder patient-centered care. The impact of family dynamics and social support on quality of life and health outcomes was acknowledged. Students also emphasized the value of collaborating with multiple health professionals. Lastly, students provided suggestions for program improvement, namely additional simulations, more education regarding other healthcare professionals' roles, more standardized experiences, and application of principles to acute and primary care.

Conclusions: Upon completion of the first year of the SELECT program, students gained an appreciation for patient-centered care and various factors and skills that facilitate such care. Additionally, they experienced a dissonance between didactic concepts from the curriculum and observed medical practices. This study highlights the educational benefits of a patient-centered medical curriculum and provides suggestions for future improvement.