Viewpoint: let's teach medical students what patient partnership in clinical practice can be, with the involvement of educationally engaged patients
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Barr, J and Ogden, K and Rooney, K, Viewpoint: let's teach medical students what patient partnership in clinical practice can be, with the involvement of educationally engaged patients, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 34, (5) pp. 610-612. ISSN 1470-6423 (2010) [Refereed Article]
As highly influential health consumers, the importance of the patient’s voice is portrayed in the literature, leading to new directions in heath policy and practice. The authors’ experience of patient partnership in the context of medical education has provided us with an opportunity to develop an understanding of what patient partnership in education should be about and how this can be implemented in a sustainable manner within undergraduate curriculum. This viewpoint outlines the context for our philosophy of providing students with the opportunity to engage with patients’ stories and needs, and to graduate students ready to conduct consultations in a patient centred manner. The Patient Partner Program is the vehicle by which this teaching and learning approach occurs. The Patient Partner Program recruits actual volunteer community patients to be educationally engaged with senior medical students, participating in regular weekly small group teaching encounters. The contribution of these patients is significant and there is evidence that patients themselves recognize the importance of their role in the programme. We believe the strength of the Patient Partner Program lies in the nurturing of relationships and the engagement of those involved. The challenges of achieving and maintaining true patient partnership are acknowledged including the students’ perception of their learning needs as they move towards their junior doctor role, and providing students with meaningful formative feedback. These challenges should not be deterrents for pursuing partnership with patients in an educational setting. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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