Introduction Healthcare professionals can be reluctant to invite medical students on ward rounds, especially in the context of emotive discussions. We present the results of a study analysing the impact of teaching ward rounds on patient experience in hospices.
Methods Eight hospices were invited to participate in this service evaluation. Six hospices across Yorkshire returned data. Inpatients were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire after a teaching ward round, defined as consisting of a minimum of 3 members of staff, led by a senior doctor (consultant or specialty grade) and including at least one medical student.
Results Seventy-four questionnaires were returned. The vast majority (96%) of patients were happy for students to be present on the ward round. None of the patients who were in a shared bay at the hospice felt that this prevented them from asking questions. The presence of a relative was felt to be a positive factor during the ward round experience. Only 11% of patients felt that the presence of students negatively affected the discussion of sensitive issues.
Conclusions Our study shows that most patients had a positive response to the presence of medical students on ward rounds. Overall teaching ward rounds did not appear to negatively impact upon the discussion of sensitive topics. This study contains a small sample size and the results cannot be generalised across a palliative care population. Nonetheless it provides data in support of medical students participating in teaching ward rounds in hospices where sensitive discussions frequently take place.
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