Improving Health Professional Student Comfort with Patient and Family Communication Through the Use of the Patient Story
Health professionals report a lack of confidence and comfort in communicating and caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We designed an educational session for health professional students to hear the perspective of a parent of a child with Down syndrome about their experiences with the healthcare system and life with their child. We evaluated the use of a family’s personal story as an education tool to impact student comfort in communicating with families and individuals with Down syndrome. The assessment of this educational session was done utilizing pre and post surveys directly before and after the interprofessional event.
Students from multiple programs participated, including genetic counseling, master’s in public health, accelerated nursing, physician assistant, and physical therapy. Student’s perceived comfort with communicating and working with families of individuals with Down syndrome increased following the event. There was also a noted increase in student comfort with communicating with new parents about Down syndrome. This emphasizes the impact of the patient story as an educational tool in improving health professional student comfort and communication with families of individuals with Down syndrome.