Experiential learning of overnight home care by medical trainees for professional development: an exploratory study

Int J Med Educ. 2020 Jul 24:11:146-154. doi: 10.5116/ijme.5f01.c78f.


Objectives: In an ageing society, community-based medical education in a home care setting needs to be developed. Drawing on Kolb's experiential learning theory, this study aimed to explore the learning processes in overnight home care by medical trainees in terms of their understanding of terminally ill patients and their conceptualization of themselves as future physicians.

Methods: An overnight home care program in which a trainee had to take care of terminally ill patients on his/her own under the supervision of a healthcare team was conducted. Nineteen trainees, including eight medical students and 11 residents, participated in this study. Text data of reflective reports written after the overnight care were collected and thematically analyzed.

Results: The trainees' learning experiences in the program were categorized into four stages: predeparture, concrete experience, reflective observation and abstract conceptualization. Although they had mixed feelings, including anxiety, fear and expectations, at the predeparture stage, they could be actively involved in providing medical care and daily life support and in taking care of dying patients at the patients' homes overnight. By reflecting on their experiences, they gained a sense of achievement and identified the aspects upon which they should improve as future physicians. Subsequently, based on their reflective observation, they conceptualized their approaches to home care and the roles/responsibilities of physicians as healers, which led to professional identity formation.

Conclusions: Overnight home care by medical trainees has the potential as an educational strategy to promote their realistic understanding of home care and facilitate professional identity formation.

Keywords: experiential learning; medical trainees; overnight home care; professional identity formation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician's Role / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Problem-Based Learning / organization & administration
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Concept
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Teaching Rounds / standards
  • Terminal Care / methods
  • Terminal Care / organization & administration
  • Terminal Care / psychology
  • Terminally Ill
  • Writing