Purpose. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore first year doctor of physical therapy student emotions when completing a first-person illness narrative assignment within a required Whole Person Care course early in curricula. Method: First-year physical therapy students from one physical therapy program completed an illness narrative assignment of a known individual with an illness experience using a first-person perspective. Qualitative data from students’ reflections from the open-ended prompt “How did you feel when writing the illness narrative?” were analyzed and coded retrospectively. Results: Diverse emotions organically emerged from the qualitative data. Coded emotions correlated with 13 of Cowen and Keltner’s 27 emotion categories further demonstrating the wide variety of emotions experienced by students. Student reflection on the illness narrative assignment provided opportunity for emotional engagement pertaining to the human illness experience. Discussion: The use of illness narrative may meet the needs of novice learners by providing space to connect emotion to the provision of healthcare early in curricula prior to clinical experience. Students used authentic context to fit new information to previous experience and emotion to create meaning and learning about provision of whole person care. The exploration of emotion within the assignment revealed a wide range of emotion potentially impacting professional identity formation, compassion, motivation, and greater understanding of the human illness experience. This study may serve as launching point for harnessing the power of narrative and emotion to support physical therapy student learning in the provision of whole person care. The results have implications for educational interventions using narrative and leveraging the emotional aspects of learning to advance student professional identity formation and compassionate care early in curricula and contribute to the limited research in emotion and narrative pedagogy in physical therapy education.
Gang, Gina and Gang, Jeffrey
"“It captures the rawness and reality”: Exploring Student Emotion during an Illness Narrative Assignment in Doctor of Physical Therapy Curricula,"
Health Professions Education: Vol. 9:
4, Article 1.
Available at: https://hpe.researchcommons.org/journal/vol9/iss4/1