BACKGROUND: Bedside teaching (BST) in a hospital setting can play an important role during medical students' clinical placements in paediatrics. Parents often feel obliged to allow their child to participate, even if they are reluctant. The aim of this study was to examine the perceptions of parents who, with their children, were involved in medical students' BST.
METHODS: Consenting parents participated in a semi-structured interview assessing their experience of having their child involved in BST. The qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. Parents were assured that their children's treatment would not be negatively affected in the case of withdrawal from the study.
RESULTS: A total of 54 parents responded and discussed their experience of their children's participation in clinical teaching. The majority of parents were keen to support medical students' learning, and felt that they could develop better insight into their child's health in association with the teaching session. Some parents found the sessions tiring; their interest increased when they were more actively involved in planning the BST sessions.
DISCUSSION: This study emphasises children's and adolescents' autonomy as a main principle in making decisions about involving them in BST. Clinical teachers often face problems attempting to properly plan and conduct BST sessions. Parents appreciate having an active role in planning the sessions and are supportive of medical student education. Clinical teachers must ensure that they protect the best interests of paediatric patients and their parents. At the same time, they should advocate for the obvious benefits of BST.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.