Does the hospitalization immersion experience improve medical students' understanding of patients' perspectives? A qualitative study

Makoto Kikukawa, Kikuko Taketomi, Motofumi Yoshida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Although many studies have assessed the impact of interventions to increase medical students' empathy by improving their understanding of patients' perspectives and feelings, the impact of hospitalization experiences remains unclear. Methods: Fifth-year medical students at Kyushu University from 2009-2013 participated in a 2-day/1-night course to provide a hospitalization experience. After the course, participants answered an online, anonymous, open-ended questionnaire created by the authors. Results: Of 488 participants, 462 provided responses (95% response rate), which were evaluated by thematic analysis. Students understood inpatients not only through their own hospitalization experience, but also through observations of and conversations with the inpatients they encountered, from a shared perspective of both. Students experienced the realities of hospital life, stress and psychological states of being an inpatient, and psychological pressure from physicians. In addition, students observed the distress of other inpatients and dedication of medical staff. Furthermore, through communication with these inpatients, students understood other inpatients' anxiety about illness and empathy as one of the requirements of health care providers from the patients' perspective. Conclusion: This qualitative study investigated the effectiveness of a course on the hospitalization experience. Results showed that medical students understood the perspectives, distress, and anxiety of being an inpatient, not only from their own experiences but also from observation and communication with other inpatients they encountered during their hospitalization. This experience appeared to be an effective teaching strategy for enhancing medical students' empathy by improving their understanding of patients' perspectives and feelings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalKorean journal of medical education
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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