Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2007 San Antonio Meeting

Poster Presentation:

Using Parent Educators and Video to Teach Students about Chronic Illness in Children


 Blair S. Hammond, MD; Jennifer Koestler, MD Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

 Background: Chronic illness in the pediatric population poses unique challenges to physicians. Our project focuses on increasing medical students understanding of these challenges.

Objective: To assess a family-centered teaching module about children with chronic illness.

Methods: A multidisciplinary working group developed a 90 minute session where medical students spoke with a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy and viewed a videotape of the child. The videotape portrayed the patient s and his family s experience with illness. After the video, students debriefed with an faculty member and parent educator. Students were given handouts and discussed the following issues: specific language when breaking bad news, the psychosocial challenges families face when living with a child with a chronic illness, and community resources available for patients and caregivers. All participating students completed Pre and Post workshop questionnaires to assess their knowledge and attitudes about children with special needs.

Results: 59 students participated in the sessions during their pediatric clerkship. Students knowledge about issues faced by chronically ill patients was 2.82 on a 5-point Likert scale before the session and 3.36 after the session (p<0.05). 92% stated they would change their approach when speaking with families about chronic illness.

Conclusions: Caring for pediatric patients with chronic illness presents unique challenges beyond the diagnosis and management. This includes understanding the impact of the illness on the patient and their family. Results of our pilot study indicate that incorporating video and parent educators into didactic sessions about chronic illness can be an effective teaching tool.