The Patient Experience Debrief Interview: How Conversations With Hospitalized Families Influence Medical Student Learning and Reflection

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges




11S Association of American Medical Colleges Learn Serve Lead




PURPOSE: To determine the effect of patient debrief interviews on pediatric clerkship student depth of reflection and learning. METHOD: The authors conducted a multi-institutional, mixed-methods, cluster randomized trial among pediatric clerkship students from May 2016 to February 2017. Intervention students completed a debrief interview with a patient-caregiver, followed by a written reflection on the experience. Control students completed a written reflection on a memorable patient encounter. Three blinded authors scored written reflections according to the 4-level REFLECT rubric to determine depth of reflection. Interrater reliability was examined using kappa. REFLECT scores were analyzed using a chi-square test; essays were analyzed using content analysis. RESULTS: Eighty percent of eligible students participated. One hundred eighty-nine essays (89 control, 100 intervention) were scored. Thirty-seven percent of the control group attained reflection and critical reflection, the 2 highest levels of reflection, compared with 71% of the intervention group; 2% of the control group attained critical reflection, the highest level, compared with 31% of the intervention group (χ(3, N = 189) = 33.9, P < .001). Seven themes were seen across both groups, 3 focused on physician practice and 4 focused on patients. Patient-centered themes were more common in the intervention group, whereas physician-focused themes were more common in the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Patient debrief interviews offer a unique approach to deepen self-reflection through direct dialogue and exploration of patient-caregiver experiences during hospitalization.