To determine whether the use of family members as educators in a structured educational intervention would increase neonatology fellows’ confidence in performing core communication skills targeted to guide family decision-making.
Neonatology fellows at two centers participated in simulation-based training utilizing formally trained family members of former patients. Fellows completed self-assessment surveys before participating, immediately following participation, and 1-month following the training. Family members also evaluated fellow communication.
For each core competency assessed, there was a statistically significant increase in self-perceived preparedness from pre-course to post-course assessments. Fellows additionally endorsed using skills learned in the curriculum in daily clinical practice. Family educators rated fellow communication highest in empathetic listening and nonverbal communication.
Participation in a communication skills curriculum utilizing formally trained family members as educators for medical trainees successfully increased fellows’ self-perceived preparedness in selected core competencies in communication. Family educators provided useful, generalizable feedback.
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Thank you to DeeJo Miller for her assistance in the creation and implementation of this project and to the participating neonatal–perinatal medicine fellows at both performance sites. The authors also wish to thank the Patient and Family Partnership Council at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and the Family Advisory Board at Children’s Mercy Hospital for their many contributions.
All phases of this study performed at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital were supported by internal grant funding through the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Foundation Fellowship Research Award Program. Study related activities performed at Children’s Mercy Hospital were supported by organizational funding provided by Children’s Mercy Hospital.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Parham, D., Reed, D., Olicker, A. et al. Families as educators: a family-centered approach to teaching communication skills to neonatology fellows. J Perinatol 39, 1392–1398 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-019-0441-7
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