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BACKGROUND: Many healthcare professionals use both quantitative and qualitative research to inform their practice. The usual way to access research findings is through peer-reviewed publications. This study aimed to understand the impact on healthcare professionals of watching and discussing a short research based film. The film, 'Struggling to be me' portrays findings from a qualitative synthesis exploring people's experiences of chronic pain, and was delivered as part of an inter-professional postgraduate e-learning module. The innovation of our study is to be the first to explore the impact of qualitative research portrayed through the medium of film in clinical education. METHODS: All nineteen healthcare professionals enrolled on the course in December 2013 took part in on-line interviews or focus groups. We recorded and transcribed the interviews verbatim and used the methods of Grounded Theory to analyse the interview transcripts. RESULTS: Watching and discussing the film became a stimulus for learning : (a) A glimpse beneath the surface explored a pro-active way of seeing the person behind the pain (b) Pitfalls of the Medical Model recognised the challenge, for both patient and clinician, of 'sitting with' rather than 'fixing' an ill person; (c) Feeling bombarded by despair acknowledged the intense emotions that the clinicians brings to the clinical encounter; (d) Reconstructing the clinical encounter as a shared journey reconstructed the time-constrained clinical encounter as a single step on a shared journey towards healing, rather than fixing. CONCLUSIONS: Films portraying qualitative research findings can stimulate a pro-active and dialectic form of knowing. Research-based qualitative films can make qualitative findings accessible and can be a useful resource in clinical training. Our research presents, for the first time, specific learning themes for clinical education.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Med Educ

Publication Date





Clinical Competence, Curriculum, Education, Medical, Undergraduate, Educational Measurement, Female, Focus Groups, Great Britain, Health Occupations, Health Personnel, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Learning, Male, Motion Pictures as Topic, Qualitative Research, Reproducibility of Results, Young Adult