RESOURCE: The Hidden Curriculum of the Medical Care for Elderly Patients in Medical Education: A Qualitative Study
In spite of more attention being given to geriatrics in medical curricula, few new physicians are seeking training in this field. So far there has been no exploration of factors in the hidden curriculum that could potentially influence the persisting lack of interest in this field of medicine. To study this hidden curriculum in medical education in relation to medical care of elderly patients we used a qualitative research design including participant observations on two internal medicine wards in a teaching hospital and semi-structured interviews. The results showed that elderly patients with multiple problems are seen as frustrating and not interesting. Medical students were not stimulated to go into the totality of medical problems of elderly patients. They picked up a lot of disparaging remarks about these patients. The mainly negative attitudes demonstrated by role models, in particular the residents, may potentially influence the development of future doctors and their choice of career.