Human Dimensions in Bedside Teaching: Focus Group Discussions of Teachers and Learners

a Department of Medicine , Boston University School of Medicine , Boston , Massachusetts , USA.
Teaching and Learning in Medicine (Impact Factor: 0.66). 10/2013; 25(4):312-318. DOI: 10.1080/10401334.2013.827979
Source: PubMed


Background: Clinical teaching has moved from the bedside to conference rooms; many reasons are described for this shift. Yet, essential clinical skills, professionalism, and humanistic patient interactions are best taught at the bedside. Purpose: Clinical teaching has moved from the bedside to conference rooms; many reasons are described for this decline. This study explored perceptions of teachers and learners on the value of bedside teaching and the humanistic dimensions of bedside interactions that make it imperative to shift clinical teaching back to the bedside. Method: Focus group methodology was used to explore teacher and learner opinions. Four teacher groups consisted of (a) Chief Residents, (b) Residency Program Directors, (c) skilled bedside teachers, and (d) a convenience group of other Department of Medicine faculty at Boston University School of Medicine. Six learner groups consisted 2 each of 3rd-year students, PGY1 medicine residents, and PGY2 medicine residents. Each discussion lasted 60 to 90 minutes. Sessions were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative methods. Results: Teachers and learners shared several opinions on bedside teaching, particularly around humanistic aspects of bedside interactions. The key themes that emerged included (a) patient involvement in discussions, (b) teachers as role models of humanism, (c) preserving learner autonomy, (d) direct observation and feedback of learners at the bedside, (e) interactions with challenging patients, and (e) admitting limitations. Within these themes, participants noted some behaviors best avoided at the bedside. Conclusions: Teachers and learners regard the bedside as a valuable venue in which to learn core values of medicine. They proposed many strategies to preserve these humanistic values and improve bedside teaching. These strategies are essential for true patient-centered care.

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