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Medical students’ experiences of resuscitation and discussions surrounding resuscitation status

Authors Aggarwal AR, Khan I

Received 9 May 2017

Accepted for publication 13 July 2017

Published 10 January 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 31—37


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder

Asha R Aggarwal, Iqbal Khan

Department of Medical Education, Northampton General Hospital, Northampton, UK

Objectives: In the UK, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be undertaken in the event of cardiac arrest unless a patient has a “Do Not Attempt CPR” document. Doctors have a legal duty to discuss CPR with patients or inform them that CPR would be futile. In this study, final-year medical students were interviewed about their experiences of resuscitation on the wards and of observing conversations about resuscitation status to explore whether they would be equipped to have an informed discussion about resuscitation in the future.
Methods: Twenty final-year medical students from two medical schools were interviewed about their experiences on the wards. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was undertaken.
Results: Students who had witnessed CPR on the wards found that aspects of it were distressing. A significant minority had never seen resuscitation status being discussed with a patient. No students reported seeing a difficult conversation. Half of the students interviewed reported being turned away from difficult conversations by clinicians. Only two of the twenty students would feel comfortable raising the issue of resuscitation with a patient.
Conclusion: It is vital that doctors are comfortable talking to patients about resuscitation. Given the increasing importance of this aspect of communication, it should be considered for inclusion in the formal communication skills teaching during medical school.

Keywords: undergraduate, communication, DNACPR, palliative care, end of life care

Three letters to the Editor have been received and published for this article 
Abdoolraheem and Farwana.
Shenoy and Mohammad

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