The aim of this study was to explore how medical students perceive the experience of learning from patient instructors (patients with rheumatism who teach health professionals and students) in the context of coupled faculty-led and patient-led teaching session. This was an explorative study with a qualitative approach based on focus group interviews. Analysis was based on a prior developed model of the characteristics of learning from patient instructors. The authors used this model as sensitizing concepts for the analysis of data while at the same time being open to new insights by constant comparison of old and new findings. Results showed a negotiation both between and within the students of the importance of patients' experiential knowledge versus scientific biomedical knowledge. On one hand students appreciated the experiential learning environment offered in the PI-led sessions representing a patient-centred approach, and acknowledged the importance of the PIs' individual perspectives and experiential knowledge. On the other hand, representing the scientific biomedical perspective and traditional step-by step teaching, students expressed unfamiliarity with the unstructured experiential learning and scepticism regarding the credibility of the patients' knowledge. This study contributes to the understanding of the complexity of involving patients as teachers in healthcare education and initiates a discussion on how to complement faculty-led teaching with patient-led teaching involving varying degrees of patient autonomy in the planning and delivering of the teaching.
Advances in Health Sciences Education : Theory and Practice, 2014, Vol 19, Issue 1, p. 7-17