Medical student perspectives on conducting patient experience debrief interviews with hospitalized children and their families

Ian S. Chua, Children's National Hospital, Washington, DC, USA.
Alyssa L. Bogetz, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, USA.
Michele Long, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Terry Kind, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.
Mary Ottolini, The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, USA.
Matthew Lineberry, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.
Priti Bhansali, Children's National Hospital, Washington, DC, USA.


PURPOSE: To explore how medical students completing a pediatric clerkship viewed the benefits and barriers of debrief interviews with hospitalized patients and families. METHODS: In this study, focus groups were conducted with pediatric clerkship students after completion of a debrief interview. The constant comparative method was used with Mezirow's transformative learning theory as a lens to explore perceptions of the benefits and challenges of performing the interview. RESULTS: Focus groups revealed five benefits and two challenges. The benefits were that the debrief interviews helped students (1) humanize patients and appreciate social and environmental influences on patient health, (2) assess caregiver/patient understanding about care to correct misunderstandings, (3) actively involve caregivers/patients in treatment plan development, (4) engage patients in active expression of questions/concerns, and (5) recognize the value of their own role on the healthcare team. The challenges were that students felt (1) a lack of knowledge to answer caregivers'/patients' questions about diagnoses and (2) discomfort responding to caregiver/patient frustration, anxiety, or sadness. Student feedback on feasibility and implementation led to guidelines for selecting patients and conducting small group discussions after the debrief interviews. CONCLUSIONS: Debrief interviews offer a unique approach for learners to explore patient perspectives during hospitalization through direct patient engagement and dialogue, contributing to professional development, empathy, and potentially more positive patient care experiences.