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Table 4 Characteristics of good support

From: Learning and coping through reflection: exploring patient death experiences of medical students

CharacteristicsExamplesQuotations
Be structured• A periodic group meeting (can be non-compulsory)
• Clinical skill sessions
“A monthly group meeting between students and peers, seniors like year 5 and FYs [foundation doctors]. This could help them address this experience and have them talk it out among others” (student no. 6).
Be active• Approach the student to check if they are ok“Some medical students may not ask for support even though they are feeling like they need it” (student no. 6).
Be sensitive• Be welcoming and understanding, especially for those who are having early experiences with patient death“Be sensitive to medical students’ emotions. Be there to listen when they want to talk or share a story about the person that [has] gone. [Keeping] them in the present [is] a subtle reminder that we have to live the life we have now”
(student no. 5).
Embrace peer and near-peer support• A discussion about patient death between 4th, 5th year medical students and foundation doctors“More peer support from [medical] students and FYs. I think a 4th year medical student witnessing patient death may want to talk to someone, but would not be comfortable speaking to a senior staff member”
(student no. 4)