Telemedicine as an ethics teaching tool for medical students within the nephrology curriculum
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A novel patient-centered approach was used to deliver ethics curriculum to medical students. Two medical school clinicians designed a telemedicine session linking their facilities (across 2 continents). The session, Exploring the Patient Experience Through Telemedicine: Dialysis and End-Stage Renal Disease, allowed second-year medical students to explore various parameters of quality of life experienced by dialysis patients. A panel of 4 medical students interviewed a dialysis patient via Skype video connection between the medical school and the hospital's dialysis unit. Interview questions were adapted from the Kidney Disease Quality of Life instrument. During the live video-streamed interview, the remaining 23 second-year medical students observed the session. Afterward, the 23 were offered a voluntary anonymous online feedback survey (15 responded). The 4 panelists submitted narrative responses to 2 open-ended questions about their experience. All 15 responding students "Strongly agreed" or "Agreed" that the session was an aid to their professionalism skills and behaviors; 14 of 15 "Strongly agreed" or "Agreed" that telemedicine technology contributed to their understanding of the topic; 12 of 15 "Strongly agreed" that the session improved their understanding of the psychosocial burdens of dialysis, quality of life, and human suffering, and increased their empathy toward patients; and 12 of 15 "Strongly agreed" or "Agreed" that the session encouraged reflective thinking and was an aid to improving their communication skills. Telemedicine can be an effective and feasible method to deliver an ethics curriculum with a patient-centered approach. Additionally, the cross-cultural experience exposes students to additional contextual features of medicine.
This document has been peer reviewed.