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Acad Pediatr. 2018 May 30. pii: S1876-2859(18)30311-5. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2018.05.007. [Epub ahead of print]

The Benefits and Challenges of Involving Adolescents in Medical Education: A Qualitative Study.

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Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, 145 Jean-Jacques-Lussier Private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. Electronic address:
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 8L1. Electronic address:



To explore the potential benefits and challenges of involving adolescents in the education of medical students and residents from the perspectives of adolescents who are hospitalized with chronic health conditions.


We conducted qualitative interviews with adolescents at a Canadian pediatric hospital. Eligible participants were those between 13-18 years of age, with chronic health conditions lasting more than three months who were feeling well enough to participate in an interview. We used conventional content analysis to analyze the data.


Sixteen adolescents participated in the study. In terms of benefits, the participants described how involving adolescents in the education of medical students and residents would improve patient-physician interactions, increase patients' confidence and self-worth, encourage patients to self-reflect and gain knowledge about their health conditions and themselves, as well as enable patients to socialize with other patients. When asked about the challenges, the participants discussed how it might be difficult to include diverse patient perspectives, manage adolescents' negativity, and ensure that learners are non-judgmental towards adolescents and take them seriously.


While many of the reported benefits and challenges correspond with those featured in the literature on adult patient involvement in medical education, our findings underscore the distinctive benefits and challenges that medical educators may experience in designing and implementing educational initiatives that involve adolescents. Through the future design and implementation of educational initiatives, it is important to further explore the benefits and challenges of such adolescent involvement, as we know that adolescents can be valuable contributors to medical education.


Adolescent Health; Medical Education; Qualitative Research


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