Background: The creative arts can integrate humanistic experiences into geriatric education. This experiential learning case study evaluated whether medical student participation in TimeSlips, a creative storytelling program with persons affected by dementia, would improve attitudes towards this patient population. Methods: Twenty-two fourth-year medical students participated in TimeSlips for one month. The authors analyzed pre- and post-program scores of items, sub-domains for comfort and knowledge, and overall scale from the Dementia Attitudes Scale using paired t-tests or Wilcoxon Signed-rank tests to evaluate mean change in students' self-reported attitudes towards persons with dementia. A case study approach using student reflective writing and focus group data was used to explain quantitative results. Results: Twelve of the 20 items, the two sub-domains, and the overall Dementia Attitudes Scale showed significant improvement post-intervention. Qualitative analysis identified four themes that added insight to quantitative results: (a) expressions of fear and discomfort felt before storytelling, (b) comfort experienced during storytelling, (c) creativity and openness achieved through storytelling, and (d) humanistic perspectives developed during storytelling can influence future patient care. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that participation in a creative storytelling program improves medical student attitudes towards persons with dementia, and suggests mechanisms for why attitudinal changes occurred.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- General Social Sciences