The patient-centered care model for health care delivery encourages medical providers to respect patients' preferences and give patients more autonomy over their health care decisions. This approach has gained importance within US medical school curricula. Yet, little is known about student perspectives on both patient-centered care and the benefits and challenges that lie therein. This manuscript explores the greatest impediments to, as well as the benefits from, student engagement in patient-centered care from the perspectives of students participating in their family medicine outpatient clerkship.Clerkship students on their core family medicine clerkship at Stanford University School of Medicine were provided the following open-ended prompt: "Describe a patient-centered care challenge or surprise in the family medicine core clerkship." Free-text responses were collected and analyzed using content and thematic analysis.A total of 326 responses from 216 students were analyzed for frequency and patient-centered themes. Nine final themes emerged and were grouped into three domains: student definitions of patient-centered care, patient-centered care impact on patients, and patient-centered care impact on medical professionals.Our study suggests that students find the patient-centered care model for health care delivery to be challenging but worthwhile. We highlight that students find communication with patients in a patient-centered manner challenging and discuss the need for improved medical education about patient-centered care in order to better prepare students to implement the model in a variety of psychosocial and medical contexts.
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