BACKGROUND: The clinical component of medical education for students and resident doctors in Japan occurs almost entirely in the hospital setting. Because of this inpatient focus, graduate medical education clinical training often fails to expose physicians-in-training to the challenges that patients may face in the outpatient or home setting. This is a descriptive study in which we explore what participating students and resident doctors learned through our brief home-based teaching experience.
METHODS: From June 2016 to December 2017, attending physicians on the internal medicine service had medical students and resident doctors accompany them on home care visits. Participants were selected by convenience sampling based on their rotation availability. After the home visit and the interactive discussion, the participants were expected to prepare a reflective journal on their experience and learning. Thematic analysis was applied, and key themes were developed based on Kolb's ELT (Experiential learning theory). Three months after completion of the experience, semi-structured interviews were individually conducted assessing participants' self-perceived changes.
RESULTS: Thirty-two medical students(10) or residents(22)participated in a home visit. Thirty of these learners were able to complete a reflective journal. Using thematic analysis, we identified 2 domains and 6 key themes from the participants' perceptions. Participants recognized the importance of patient-centered care, inter-professional collaboration of the home care team, and reconceptualized the meaning of medical practice and their professional identity as a doctor. Three month post-experience interviews were completed on 12 of the original 30 participants who completed the reflective journal. 2 domains and 6 key themes from the residents' experiences and perceptions were generated. The participants reported an increased attention to the daily lives and social situations of their hospitalized patients, and an extension of their focus beyond the clinical medical treatment of the patient.
CONCLUSION: The experience of a brief visit to a patient's home is a novel educational approach that may potentially provide medical students and resident doctors with opportunities to learn about out-of-hospital, patient-centered, home-based medical care.