In this study, we interviewed 30 students training for three areas of healthcare: medicine, nursing, and medical family therapy (MedFT). Through grounded theory analysis of these interviews, we looked to understand how these providers connected their own experiences with illness to their clinical work, particularly in including patients’ family members in care. The majority of participants, and especially those in medicine and nursing disciplines, described a tension between their desire to connect with patients and families and their developing definition of professionalism. For others, the impact of students’ personal experiences with illness seemed to provide a different definition of professionalism, making these personal connections more purposeful. We found that students described four significant processes around a core category of defining professionalism: (1) facing discrepancies between ideals around being a healthcare provider and students’ lived experiences, (2) coping with the challenges of healthcare culture, (3) navigating relationships between own experiences with illness and patients’ experiences, and (4) attempting to connect more closely with patients and their families. Implications suggest that training programs across disciplines consider how to support self-of-the-provider reflection, relational perspectives of illness, and students’ abilities to connect with patients and include families in care.
Keywords: medical family therapy, illness narratives, collaborative care, family-centered care.
Marital and Family Therapy
Counseling and Family Sciences
School of Behavioral Health
Hernandez, Barbara Couden
Oloo, Winetta Baker
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Clinical Clerkship - Standards; Attitude of Health Personnel; Continuity of Patient Care; Patients - Psychology; Family Health; Health Knowledge; Physician-Patient Relations
Subject - Local
Medical Family Therapy; Illness Narratives; Collaborative Care; Family-Centered Care; Relational Perspectives of Illness
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Lawson, Lindsey Ann, "Student Healthcare Providers' Illness Narratives: Impact on Family-Focused Care" (2013). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. Paper 301.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives