From skepticism to openness: a qualitative narrative analysis of medical students’ attitudes following an integrative medicine course

Eran Ben-Arye, Adi Finkelstein, Noah Samuels, Dina Ben-Yehuda, Elad Schiff, Shmuel Reis, Lior Lesser, Michael Bergel, Dorith Shaham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The present study aimed to explore attitudes of medical students following a course in integrative medicine (IM) focused on palliative and supportive cancer. Method: Attitudes to IM among pre-clerkship medical students were assessed following a 3-day required course, which included interviews with international experts in IM and “hands-on” workshops mentored by IM and non-IM healthcare professionals. Student reflections were analyzed qualitatively, and written narratives were examined thematically. Results: Of 161 students, 102 (63.4%) provided post-course reflections. The main narrative themes included pre-course attitudes, attitude changes and influencing factors, and insights on implementing IM in clinical practice. Pre-course attitudes were predominantly skeptical, with post-course attitudes more open and non-judgmental, addressing research on IM effectiveness and safety. Students looked favorably on the implementation of IM in clinical practice and felt the course enhanced communication with patients. Conclusions: Student attitudes to IM shifted following the course, from a skeptical to a more non-judgmental and accepting approach. IM course may facilitate a better understanding of the limitations and risks of IM practices, particularly in the supportive cancer care setting, as well as implications regarding students’ own resilience and professional growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4789-4795
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Funding

The 7 videos produced for the course were jointly funded by the Hebrew University Hadassah School of Medicine in Jerusalem and the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion Institute of Technology, Israel.

FundersFunder number
Hebrew University Hadassah School of Medicine in Jerusalem
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

    Keywords

    • Complementary alternative medicine
    • Integrative medicine
    • Integrative oncology
    • Medical education
    • Palliative care
    • Supportive care

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