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Patient and public involvement in paediatric medical education
  1. Sinead Donnelly1,
  2. Kathryn Ferris2,
  3. Neil Kennedy1,
  4. Thomas Bourke3,4,
  5. Dara O'Donoghue5,6
  1. 1 Centre for Medical Education, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (Clinical research fellow), Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  3. 3 Centre for Medical Education, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  4. 4 Paediatrics, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  5. 5 Department of Child Health, Centre for Medical Education, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  6. 6 Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sinead Donnelly, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT12 6DP, UK; sdonnelly770{at}


The benefits of involving patients and the public in medical education are well documented, however there is a need to further explore how this can be translated to the setting of paediatric medical education. This article aims to identify how organisations can facilitate the involvement of paediatric patients and their parents/carers.

While involving children in research can present challenges, we describe examples where organisations have successfully involved young people in clinical research and selection of research topics.

Involving paediatric patients and their parents/carers in medical education helps develop a patient centred approach to practice for medical students. Participation of paediatric patients in objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) examinations is employed by many medical schools, however allowing them the ability to provide a ‘global score’ may have the potential to assess skills such as communication and empathy in addition to medical knowledge.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have provided a framework on how to involve children in health services, addressing practical considerations such as funding and facilities. This framework could be applied by organisations seeking to actively involve children in paediatric medical education. Potential barriers and facilitators are explored in this article.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, involving young people and their families in medical student teaching became challenging. We describe virtual bedside teaching sessions which actively involved paediatric patients and their families, which showed that many patients and parents prefer virtual consultations.

Involving paediatric patients and their families in medical education is strongly advocated by the General Medical Council (GMC) and RCPCH. Organisations should actively seek out opportunities to become involved in the development of medical education resources as we describe in this paper.

  • Paediatrics
  • Child Health

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  • Contributors SD, KF and DOD drafted and revised manuscript versions. TB and NK supervised the project. All authors provided critical feedback on the manuscript and contributed to the final review.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.