Teaching undergraduate medical students how to communicate with vaccine-hesitant patients: A scoping review

Authors

Keywords:

vaccine hesitancy, undergraduate medical education, curriculum, teaching

Abstract

Introduction: Vaccine hesitancy poses a challenge to healthcare professionals. Prior to graduation, medical students may not be fully equipped with the knowledge or skills to manage interactions with vaccine-hesitant patients. The aim of this scoping review was to identify and evaluate the characteristics of educational interventions that improve medical students’ skills in communicating with vaccine-hesitant patients.

Methods: EMBASE, OVID Medline, CINAHL, and ERIC databases were searched with keywords related to “vaccine hesitancy” and “undergraduate medical education”. One hundred and fourteen primary studies were identified, and seven articles were included for review. Data extraction included the characteristics of educational interventions, such as the modality, duration, frequency and assessment methods.

Results: There is limited literature describing educational interventions that help medical students develop skills to effectively with vaccine-hesitant patients. This makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of different pedagogical approaches. Although the included studies generally reported an increase in student self-reported confidence to communicate with vaccine-hesitant patients, none assessed whether the interventions led to changes in student clinical practice or improvements in patient outcomes.

Conclusion: Additional research into the identification of educational interventions that establish persistent changes in students’ knowledge, attitudes and skills to communicate with vaccine-hesitant patients is required. An evidence-based medicine component of an education program, which can adapt to evolving contributors to vaccine hesitancy and the variety of concerns across different vaccines, may present a potential solution. Educators would be better directed with further research that aligns health outcomes with teaching, assessment and evaluation of a proposed vaccine-hesitancy curriculum.

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2023-12-12

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Bilszta, J., & Nguyen, E. (2023). Teaching undergraduate medical students how to communicate with vaccine-hesitant patients: A scoping review. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 24(4), 1–23. Retrieved from https://fohpe.org/FoHPE/article/view/694

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