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ERIC Number: EJ932859
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1382-4996
Experiencing Virtual Patients in Clinical Learning: A Phenomenological Study
Edelbring, Samuel; Dastmalchi, Maryam; Hult, Hakan; Lundberg, Ingrid E.; Dahlgren, Lars Owe
Advances in Health Sciences Education, v16 n3 p331-345 Aug 2011
Computerised virtual patients (VPs) are increasingly being used in medical education. With more use of this technology, there is a need to increase the knowledge of students' experiences with VPs. The aim of the study was to elicit the nature of virtual patients in a clinical setting, taking the students' experience as a point of departure. Thirty-one students used VPs as a mandatory part of an early clinical rotation in rheumatology. Using the qualitative approach of phenomenology, we interviewed these students and then analysed data regarding their experiences of VPs as a learning activity. The result shows that students perceived VP activities in relation to actual patients, the clinical context and other learning activities. The VPs represented typical clinical cases which encouraged clinical reasoning and allowed for decision making. The students experienced the activities as integrating biomedical knowledge and clinical experience, providing structure that prepared for the unstructured clinical environment and patient encounters under unstressful conditions. However, the VPs were experienced as lacking the emotional interactivity and complexity of actual patients. Theoretical frameworks of clinical reasoning and experiential learning are suggested as foundations for further educational integration of VPs in the clinical environment. VP activities during clinical rotations provide experiences of clinical reality and allow students to solve problems actively. These features are dependent on VP technology but are also contingent on the surrounding environment.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A