What makes a good children's doctor? Exploring the child perspective in the OSCE setting

Med Teach. 2016 May;38(5):471-5. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2015.1060301. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Background: Patient feedback is increasingly important in clinical practice, and this should include children's views. 28 children aged 8-10 years participating in a large-scale OSCE underwent cranial nerve examination by student candidates. They scored each out of 10 for the question: 'If you had to see a doctor again, how happy would you be to see this one?' An age-adapted qualitative focus group methodology was used to explore why they scored some students more highly than others.

Results: Children's scores for the 256 medical students ranged from 2 to 10 (median 9; mean 8.46). 76% of scores were above 8. 'Good' doctor attributes included: 'friendly', 'funny', 'knowledgeable', 'confident'; 'bad' doctor attributes were: 'making mistakes', 'not paying attention', 'forgot everything', 'serious'. Children's reasons for specific scores are further explored.

Discussion and conclusion: Scores were positively skewed, in line with most patient/simulated patient feedback, and children discriminated between candidates. It should not be assumed that clinician examiners can accurately represent the views of child patients who may value different qualities in doctors. Children participating in our study had clear views of what they want from a doctor: a consultative approach with clear and kind explanation of the process of examination.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Pediatricians / standards*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom