Aims Meeting children with complex neurodisability is a rich learning experience. In the community, medical student (MS) teaching may miss this, as the role of Community Paediatricians is to promote participation, avoiding children attending clinics. We present the process and resources needed to to set up a formal programme of undergraduate teaching, utilising ‘expert parents’ as educators.
Methods Parents of children with complex needs were recruited to teach small groups of MS in their community placement.
Phase 1: Parents views sought via questionnaire about 1) what was important the MS learnt, 2) what parents felt they could deliver, 3) concerns they had about teaching.
Phase 2: Induction workshops for parents explored how a session could be delivered alongside feedback seperately sought from MS.
Phase 3: External validation of programme
Phase 4:Post workshop and with programme now ‘live,’ parents views sought regarding changes in confidence. Number of hours of medical and administrative time collated.
Results Ten families were recruited. Phase 1 Thematic analysis revealed the importance of seeing the childs health in the context of everyday life and that labelling the session as ‘teaching’ was problematic.
Phase 2 and 3: MS wanted to hear about the child and families daily life, with less focus on medical aspects of care than was anticipated. Hence paediatrician/Administrator led workshops workshops focussed on the value of ‘sharing my story’ as the basis of the parents educator’s role.
Phase 4: the change from ‘teaching’ to ‘sharing my story’ improved reported confidence and gave structure as well as reproducable learning objectives. Parents valued formal MS feedback and a forum to discuss sessions with other parents.
Initial set up 12 hours paediatrician, 15 hours administrative time. The ‘live’ programme currrently needs 2 hours of paediatrician and 2 hours administrative time per month.
Conclusion This group of expert parents are motivated and provide well received, good quality teaching alongside Paediatricians. The time invested in preparation with parents and a formal process has reassured the medical school of consistency of learning. This programme could be reproduced elsewhere.
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