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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2018 Jul;143(14):e125-e130. doi: 10.1055/a-0575-6851. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

["Critical discussion should be encouraged!" - a qualitative analysis of medical students' evaluation of a complementary medicine course].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Author information

Institut für Allgemeinmedizin und Interprofessionelle Versorgung, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen.
Abteilung Allgemeinmedizin und Versorgungsforschung, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Marsilius-Arkaden.
Anästhesiologische Klinik, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg.
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck.


in English, German


 In 2002, the new version of the German Medical Licensure Act integrated Naturopathy and Complementary Medicine into the cross-sectoral unit 12 "Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Naturopathy" (QB12) of the medical undergraduate course. At the University of Heidelberg, Complementary Medicine (CAM) is an obligatory clinical subject of the medical undergraduate curriculum and is delivered in the form of lectures and small group work. As a central educational objective, medical students should be able to explain the principles of classical Naturopathy and the most commonly used CAM procedures. The aim was to explore the attitudes, learning needs and interests of medical students with regard to Naturopathy and CAM, and thus establish the teaching requirements.


 The lectures and internships were evaluated using a faculty-based teaching evaluation form. The free-text of the evaluation forms between winter semester 2011/2012 and summer semester 2013 were assessed using Mayring qualitative content analysis.


 The free-texts were divided into three deductive main categories (Attitudes, Learning Needs and Interests) and further subcategories. A central topic was the polarization of views in medical students regarding CAM; it ranged from lively resistance to great enthusiasm. Strikingly, comments often showed that students had significant reservations with respect to CAM and would require further evidence from the teachers in order to embrace this concept. This was particularly prominent in the use of non-pharmaceutical methods.


 Our results show that evidence-based teaching, combined with practical experience, contributes positively to the critical appraisal of CAM amongst medical students. These findings can serve as the basis for planning, implementation and realization of CAM teaching within mainstream undergraduate medical education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Conflict of interest statement

Wie in den Limitationen des Manuskripts angeführt, sind bzw. waren die Autoren aktive Dozenten in der komplementärmedizinischen Lehre an der Universität in Heidelberg. Weitere Interessenkonflikte bestehen nicht.

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