Developing a patient focussed professional identity: an exploratory investigation of medical studentsí encounters with patient partnership in learning
Barr, J and Bull, R and Rooney, K, Developing a patient focussed professional identity: an exploratory investigation of medical students' encounters with patient partnership in learning, Advances in Health Sciences Education, 20, (2) pp. 325-338. ISSN 1382-4996 (2015) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Patient encounters are central to the provision of learning opportunities for medical students and their development as medical professionals. The primary aim of the study reported in this paper was to discover how partnering medical students with patients with chronic illness in undergraduate learning influenced the development of a patient centred professional identity and professionalism. An exploratory interpretive research design was used to address the research aim within a patient partner program (P3). Three qualitative data collection methods were used: (1) focus groups (2) extended response questionnaire and (3) semi-structured interviews. Data were coded and analysed thematically. The professional identity of medical students is constructed along traditional lines in the preclinical years. Patient-partnership offers a disruption to this development by way of an intersection with patients with chronic illness which potentially allows meaningful construction of what a patient-centred identity should be. This point of reflection provides an opportunity to engage at a higher level in medical identity development and professionalism. The findings discussed in this paper further stimulate the patient-centred agenda by understanding the conflict associated with the student-patient nexus in medical education and its potential for building professionalism and a patient-centred professional identity. To continue the drive for a patient-centred professional identity there must be ongoing engagement with patients in medical education, preferably commencing early in a student's journey so that it becomes the expected norm. This study has highlighted that a true patient-centred emphasis is being encountered too late in their socialisation process.
clinical education, learning contexts, patient centredness, patient partnership, professional identity development