Investigating the Meaning of Patient Ownership: An Exploratory Study of a Commonly Used Phrase within an Internal Medicine Department

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Learning to assume responsibility or "ownership" for patient care is an important aspect of learning what it means to be a physician. To date, most of the research on patient ownership has focused on residents' understanding of what it means to own patients. This exploratory study explored third- and fourth-year students', residents, and attending physicians' understanding of the phrase "taking ownership of a patient." Data included participant observations and interviews that expanded over a five month period. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using psychological ownership as an analytical lens and latent content analysis as a method. Third-year students primarily understood the phrase to mean communicating with patients and their immediate team. Fourth-year students indicated it was an expectation to contribute to the management of patient care. Residents and faculty thought patient ownership included an emotional investment in patients. The phrase taking ownership of patients is understood differently depending on where participants are in their development, even though it is assumed there is a shared understanding across team members. Given the variability in understanding, educators should have explicit discussions with learners about commonly used concepts to help them develop sophisticated understandings and monitor their own development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Medical Humanities
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Medical education
  • Patient ownership
  • Psychological ownership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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