Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Furthering humanism through family faculty members: A qualitative study of written reflections by third-year pediatric clerks

Christina E. Jaramillo,Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth,Hanover,NH,Adam R. Weinstein,Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth,Lebanon,NH,Steven H. Chapman,Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth,Lebanon,NH,Alison V. Holmes,Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth,Lebanon ,NH

Background: Pediatric patients and their families can serve as teachers of medical students in family-centered care curricula.


Objective: To analyze what medical students learn during a family faculty program designed to promote humanism in medicine


Methods: Since 2009, third year pediatric clerks at Geisel School of Medicine have completed an assignment called “From the Other Side of the Stethoscope” (FOSS). Students conduct semi-structured interviews with families of children with severe acute or chronic illness and write a one-page reflection. Reflections are shared with a small group of classmates and two or three “family faculty” members (parents of children with significant illness).  Within these discussions, student and family experiences are explored. We analyzed the FOSS reflections and identified themes using an inductive approach to qualitative analysis.  Using Atlas Ti, two investigators coded each interview independently and then achieved consensus on each code.  Analysis of two years of written reflections (n=188) led to saturation of themes. We sorted the identified themes, and categorized them into domains via an iterative process that required the consensus of four team members.


Results: We discovered four domains comprised of 14 themes:

  1. Student journey in development of professional role: Medical students examine the importance of communication and trust, avoidance of preconceptions, balance of when to share information, and advocacy, as they develop their professional identities.
  2. Families as cornerstone in care of ill child: Students discover that parents have detailed knowledge of their child’s condition, are central members of the healthcare team, and greatly impacted by illness.
  3. Humanism and the therapeutic relationship: Students reflect on the value of human relationships between physicians, patients, and families as they navigate differing beliefs, values, and emotions. Students recognize remarkable family strengths.
  4. Importance of support, community, and education: Students identify the differing levels of support that families have and thus learn the value of a team-based approach and provision of resources to overcome barriers to care.


Conclusion:  We demonstrate that FOSS teaches humanism in pediatrics.  FOSS could be replicated at other institutions.