Introduction Addiction to both alcohol and other drugs creates a large health burden within the NHS. Undergraduate exposure to these patients tends to be opportunistic and sporadic; we wanted to create a learning experience for large groups of 30+ students using a real patient storey. Patients with drug and alcohol dependence can lead chaotic lives and may feel threatened by a large group teaching encounter, they may struggle to talk about their often highly personal experiences. Moreover patients with addictions may only volunteer for teaching once they are have been abstinent and consequently their storey whilst relevant is no longer current.
Methods A transdisciplinary group of Gastrointestinal and Mental Health teachers elected to produce a digital storey (digistory) of a patient currently dependent on both alcohol and opiates. A digistory is a personal narrative normally set to still images which change in reference to the person’s storey. Typically it is recorded using a Dictaphone and embedded within a PowerPoint picture presentation. The advantage of a digistory over conventional video is that the patient’s anonymity is preserved whilst the patient retains their own voice; the addition of appropriate images makes the storey more powerful and creates a focus whilst listening to the audio.
A patient known to a regional addictions service was approached, consented and recorded. The digistory was shown to the patient prior being shown to the students.
In groups students discussed their previous experiences of addiction and then watched the digistory. To enhance knowledge transfer they were asked to consider a biopsychosocial problem list for the patient. They then reflected on their own preconceived ideas about addictions, reaction to the storey and developed a patient problem list.
Students completed a written evaluation of the session.
Results There was consensus that the digistory was a powerful learning tool and that the session was thought provoking. Furthermore they stated that the storey’s power arose from the fact the patient was a similar age to them and was local to the area. Students fed back in post-session evaluation that it had changed their perception of those with alcohol and drug problems.
Conclusion Some students did state a desire to still see patients for themselves; seeing patients personally will always remain important but we describe the use of a digistory as a powerful teaching tool to generate dialogue amongst learners, enhance knowledge exchange and address possibly misplaced attitudes to a vulnerable patient group. We recommend the use of digistories as a novel and effective teaching method to enable patients to tell very personal storeys whilst still protecting their anonymity.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.