On July 30, 2023, Melissa Wright, Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Pedagogy, published a new paper in AEM Education and Training, alongside colleagues, titled “The utility of an online discussion board for reflective writing in an emergency medicine rotation.” Wright and her colleagues explain that although narrative analysis and reflection support professional identity formation (PIF) and resilience among medical students, online discussion boards or other means of narrative reflection are not commonplace in emergency medicine (EM) rotations. The researchers sought to investigate the potential of such an initiative as a form of support for students navigating this process.
To accomplish this, Wright and her colleagues incorporated online discussion boards into the curriculum of the pass/fail EM elective taken by 52 medical students. Wright and colleagues found that students engaged positively with the initiative. Rather than scientific or medical questions, the researchers found that students most often posted about intensely affective reactions to experiences that had left them with complex emotions following their shifts. Students expressed appreciation for faculty responses to posts of this nature and showed support for each other in their written responses to peers.
Based on these findings, Wright and her colleagues conclude that an online discussion board can serve as a successful tool for helping medical students navigate their EM rotation experiences.