Exploring How Best to Teach Trauma-Informed Care in Undergraduate Medical Education

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Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach that recognizes the potential for patients to have experienced trauma and requires care to be sensitive and adaptive to this; ongoing calls to action continue to highlight the need for TIC to be incorporated into the training of medical doctors. This exploratory qualitative study employed constructivist grounded theory methods to empirically investigate how leading physicians in Canada conceptualize and operationalize TIC and further examine how it could be effectively taught to medical learners during undergraduate medical education (UME). The study found that physicians view TIC as a practice philosophy, rather than a specific framework or set of skills, oriented around seven principles. Rather than viewing trauma as a biomedical or psychiatric condition, physicians saw structures and systems of oppression as mediators for – and causes of – trauma. Findings illuminate foundational knowledge and skills necessary to augment the translation of TIC in clinical practice that can be used to inform what and how medical schools teach TIC. This study identified the importance of longitudinal integration, spirality, and meaningful applications of TIC in a UME-level TIC curriculum, which ensures that all learners are introduced to the construct of TIC and are able to apply it in early clinical interactions. However, challenges such as the contradictory and powerful influence of the hidden curriculum as well as the critical need for faculty development must be addressed. Overall, this emphasizes the need for physician training to cultivate context- dependent and adaptable approaches to TIC in an effort to break the cycle of systemic violence and trauma in medicine.
Trauma-Informed Care, Medical Education, Undergraduate Medical Education, TIC, Medicine
Young, J. L. (2023). Exploring how best to teach trauma-informed care in undergraduate medical education (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.