Objectives To identify and describe the experience of being a professional patient (PP) in teaching the pelvic examination (PE).
Design Qualitative study using in-depth interviews.
Setting Participant’s home, place of work or other place of choice.
Population Thirteen female PPs who teach the PE to medical students and student midwives.
Method Semi-structured interviews analysed with an interpretive phenomenological approach.
Main outcome measures Five themes were identified during the analysis: ‘embodied knowledge’, ‘promoting a proper approach’, ‘redrawing private boundaries’, ‘feeling confident’ and ‘doing something meaningful’. The essence ‘experience of stronger and clearer perception of self’ emerged from the themes and is the described structure of the lived experience of the women who are PP.
Conclusions Being a PP in this setting was beneficial for the women. They acquired increased knowledge about their bodies and PE procedure, which led to a new awareness of their own body. Contributing to students’ learning in such an intimate examination procedure was rewarding and increased self-esteem.