Critically ill patients and end-of-life decision-making: the senior medical resident experience.

Link to article at PubMed

Critically ill patients and end-of-life decision-making: the senior medical resident experience.

Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2012 Mar;17(1):121-36

Authors: Ahern SP, Doyle TK, Marquis F, Lesk C, Skrobik Y

In order to improve the understanding of educational needs among residents caring for the critically ill, narrative accounts of 19 senior physician trainees participating in level of care decision-making were analyzed. In this multicentre qualitative study involving 9 university centers in Canada, in-depth interviews were conducted in either English or French, and the transcripts then underwent a hermeneutic phenomenological analysis. The resident was the central figure in the narrated incident, along with the patients' relatives and other attending physicians. The vast majority of interviews recounted negative experiences that involved delivering bad news to patients' families and managing difficult communications with them and with physician colleagues. Emotional distress and suffering were often part of their decision-making process. Narrating their experiences was viewed as a positive event. Data analysis uncovered 6 general themes that were organized into 2 categories, the first one grouping together themes related to interactions with the patients' families and the second comprising themes related to interactions with physician coworkers. The findings suggest that physician trainees' narratives are a rich source of data regarding what constitutes meaningful training experiences and what they learn from them. Educational approaches that incorporate the telling of stories would allow students to express their feelings, doubts, and opinions about their work experiences and could thus foster personal and emotional learning in critical care.

PMID: 21626076 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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