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Homeopathy as elective in undergraduate medical education--an opportunity for teaching professional core skills

Lehmann B, Kremer B, Werwick K, Herrmann M. Homeopathy as elective in undergraduate medical education – and opportunity for teaching professional core skills. GMS Z Med Ausbild. 204;31(1): Doc7.

AIM: The evaluation of medical students' perceptions regarding an elective study course inHomeopathy in which small groups have participated annually for six years, at the Institute for General Practice and Family Medicine at the Otto Von Guericke University, Magdeburg. The course was assessed in terms of concept, delivery, and influence on students' professional development.

METHODOLOGY:

Since the autumn term of 2008/09, three group discussions have been conducted with thirty of the course participants (3 total electives). These discussions were semi-structured and guided by central topics; the analysis was qualitative and guided by content.

RESULTS:

The overall concept and implementation of the course were very successful. The main learning themes, that is, an emphasis on a more holistic and individual view of patients and the importance of a cooperative partnership between doctor and patient, were positively rated, regardless of the students' attitudes towards homeopathy. Their assessment was based on their previous experience and a comparison with conventional medical education.

CONCLUSION:

Homeopathy as an elective subject is not only useful for acquiring specific knowledge in integrative medicine, but also important as a means of developing physicians' core skills that are often not well considered in conventional medical education.