Introduction There is an increase in demand from local community and hospital healthcare professionals to attend Meadow House Hospice in Ealing for experiential learning visits. These visits comply with the broad definition of educational tourism as they incorporate travelling away from one’s usual setting (hospital or community) to another (the hospice) to learn.
Methods Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten purposively recruited healthcare professionals who were visiting Meadow House Hospice for experiential learning. Data analysis involved a framework approach to recognise themes confirming the visitors as educational tourists. Interview data was then used to generate themes to inform an educational programme.
Results Four student nurses, 2 medical students, a district nurse, a GP trainee, a hospital specialist breast nurse and an advanced medical practitioner visiting the hospice showed characteristics common to educational tourists: travelling to learn, a desire to learn, wishing to experience something different, wishing to experience something in context and a preference for experiential learning. Visitors considered their experience to be beneficial to their future practice and three main themes about how to improve the hospice educational programme were established; personalising learning; continuing to see and experience authentic hospice activities; and the presence of a facilitator guide.
Conclusion This study confirms that educational tourism occurs in the hospice, substantiating the application of educational tourism models. Using the pre-visit, visit, post-visit educational tourism model, improvements could include: pre-visit personalisation and planning of the learning experience by clarifying objectives, giving information and establishing visitor preferences about educational activities; post-visit debriefing/reflection and outcome measurement while maintaining the current authentic learning experience with a facilitator guide. Using an educational tourism model may offer an opportunity to improve learning experiences in the hospice within the educational resources already available.
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