Reflective impressions of a precepted clinical experience caring for people with disabilities
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There is evidence that early and frequent encounters with people with disabilities can improve medical students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes about disability. As part of a 4-year integrated curriculum in caring for patients with disabilities, third-year medical students (n = 144) in a Family Medicine clerkship participated in a day-long precepted clinical experience at a medical facility serving people with disabilities, predominantly developmental disabilities, where they met patients and worked with clinicians. At the conclusion of the program, students completed a reflective survey about their experience. These data were analyzed qualitatively using a constructivist grounded-theory approach. Students' responses indicated that the experience improved their comfort levels in working with people with disabilities and increased their awareness of attitudinal factors that influence patient care. Responses also demonstrated that students achieved an awareness of technical accommodations and organizational adaptations that improve patient care.
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