Our team is designing, implementing, and evaluating a new online curriculum (i.e., 12 week, 39-hour course) that provides clinician-educators with information on and strategies for actively involving patients in health professions education (HPE). Our initial plan is that this curriculum will target students in the Diploma, Master, or Doctorate in HPE at the University of Ottawa. By offering this curriculum to clinician-educators, we are hopeful that they will embed and champion patients’ voices in their educational practices. They can then teach their current and future trainees about active patient involvement in HPE as a means of creating a community of practice in this area and promoting compassionate healthcare.
In the preliminary stages of this project, we have encountered some positive dilemmas that are leading us to question our plans and preconceived notions. We are thinking about answers to the following three questions:
1. Is it possible to have too many patient representatives on our curriculum advisory committee?
To guide the development of the curriculum, we are in the process of developing an advisory committee. Originally, we thought that this committee should include 1-2 of each: (a) patients, (b) family members, (c) HPE clinician-educators, (d) academic partners, and (e) community partner representatives. However, after reaching out to patient advisory groups to help us identify patients who might be interested in joining the committee, we are very happy to report that six patients are keen and committed to participating in this project. We are now brainstorming ways to ensure that all these individuals can participate on the committee or in other aspects of the project.
2. Should we use arts-based pedagogy?
While we recognize the value of Backward Design and that the learning outcomes for the course (which we have yet to develop) should drive the teaching strategies and content for the course, we are considering the possibility of using arts-based pedagogy. Arts-based pedagogy uses art (e.g., digital stories, drama, poetry, imagery) as a medium to support learning in subjects other than art. Research shows that this pedagogy fosters self-awareness, cultural awareness, community partnerships, social integration, observational skills, whole person development, and ultimately, compassionate care. While the use of arts-based pedagogy in HPE is not new, the use of it in online learning environments is innovative and may provide unique opportunities to facilitate patient engagement in the teaching of this course.
3. Should we open the course to students who are not in HPE?
Lastly, in the spirit of inclusivity and in the hopes of reaching as many learners as possible to promote patient engagement and compassionate care in the teaching of health professionals, we are considering the feasibility of opening this course to students in other faculties and programs (e.g., counselling, nursing, rehabilitation sciences) at the University of Ottawa.
Through ongoing conversations and the completion of our needs assessment we hope to gain additional insight on these questions as well as generate additional questions and positive dilemmas for consideration.
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