International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleMedical students volunteering in hospital: a novel method of exploring and recording the patient experience
Type of ArticleCritical Reflection on Practice Development
Author/sMonica Lorraina Hytiris, Fraser Prentice and Deborah Baldie
ReferenceVolume 7, Issue 1, Article 9
Date of PublicationMay 2017
Keywordsacute inpatient settings, medical student volunteers, patient experience, person-centred care, practice development, reflection

Background: Patient experience is increasingly recognised as an important feature of healthcare quality improvement. However, many of the methods implemented for its collection have significant limitations and reliability issues. This article describes how a UK healthcare organisation worked with medical student volunteers to build capacity for the collection of patient feedback in evidence-informed ways, and summarises student reflections on this process.

Aims: To improve the quantity and quality of inpatient feedback, and in doing so provide new learning opportunities for medical students.

Conclusions: Patient feedback gathered by volunteers is beneficial to the service and to medical student volunteers. As the feedback gathered is ward-specific, opportunities are created for practice improvements to be identified and acted on. It is feasible for medical students to be trained effectively as volunteers in gathering patient care experiences with adequate support mechanisms in place.

Implications for practice:

  • Healthcare services should consider the use of personnel independent of the care team for the collection of patient feedback
  • Patient feedback needs to be shared with practitioners in a timely manner
  • Medical schools should consider this type of volunteering as a unique opportunity for medical students to improve understanding of patients’ experiences of healthcare, and of how care can be person-centred

This article by Monica Lorraina Hytiris, Fraser Prentice and Deborah Baldie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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