Background Healthcare professionals (HCP) often feel insecure and therefore hesitate to start ACP conversations with patients. And patients often feel reluctant to initiate ACP-conversations. Trying to discontinue this vicious circle we developed an elective ACP course for medical students.
Methods The course was developed on the base of the German facilitator-curriculum, which was revised in 2017 to include intensive role-play supported by the use of standardized-patients (SP). We adapted the facilitator curriculum to the students’ experience and early stage of medical training. Course preparation comprised a letter of motivation and 10 CME questions referring to an ACP journal paper. The course is divided into 2 parts, each lasting 32 hours and including 10 hours of SP-training in groups of 2 or 3.
Results In August 2018, 7 students joined part 1 of the new ACP-course. All 7 students were in their 2nd year of medical training, the age range was 20–42 yrs, 3 were female. 5 happened to have a Muslim background which added an unexpected cultural component to the course. 4 had worked in other disciplines in healthcare before. Their motivation to participate ranged from traumatizing personal experiences to practical reasons. Their attitudes towards patient-centeredness and ACP-facilitation strongly changed from a traditional-paternalistic towards an autonomy-oriented view. At the end, student performance varied from moderate to very good.
Conclusion(s) Discussing legal and ethical basics of ACP conversations, and practicing ACP with SP, were judged by the students as highly relevant, both personally and professionally.
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