Medical Students' Recognition and Application of Geriatrics Principles in a New Curriculum

Authors


Address correspondence to Associate Professor Aman Nanda, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy Street, PO Box 424, Providence, RI 02903. E-mail: ananda@lifespan.org

Abstract

Given the aging U.S. population, it is imperative that medical students recognize and apply geriatrics principles. To address this need, in 2006, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University integrated geriatrics content into a new medical school curriculum. Preclinical and clinical medical students submitted written reflective journals in response to prompts regarding the geriatrics content of the new medical school curriculum, including their didactic and clinical experiences. An interdisciplinary team used a structured qualitative approach to identify themes, including the recognition and application of geriatrics principles. Thirty medical student journalers submitted 405 journal entries. Themes regarding students' emerging understanding of geriatrics principles included a growing understanding of geriatrics principles, recognition of the importance of psychosocial factors and patient preferences in caring for older adults, recognition of the complexities of treating older adults and application of geriatric principles to clinical situations, and understanding of physicians' roles in managing the care of older adults. Medical student reflective journaling allows medical educators to obtain timely feedback on curricular innovations and helps illuminate the process by which medical students learn to recognize and apply core geriatrics principles.

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