What's the Purpose of Rounds? A Qualitative Study Examining the Perceptions of Faculty and Students

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Rounds are a critical activity on any inpatient service, but there is little literature describing the purpose of rounds from the perspective of faculty and trainees in teaching hospitals.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate and compare the perceptions of pediatric and internal medicine attendings and medical students regarding the purpose of inpatient attending rounds.

METHODS:

The authors conducted 10 semistructured focus groups with attendings and medical students in the spring of 2014 at 4 teaching hospitals. The protocol was approved by the institutional review boards at all institutions. The authors employed a grounded theory approach to data collection and analysis, and data were analyzed by using the constant-comparative method. Two transcripts were read and coded independently by 2 authors to generate themes.

RESULTS:

Forty-eight attendings and 31 medical students participated in the focus groups. We categorized 218 comments into 4 themes comprised of 16 codes representing what attendings and medical students believed to be the purpose of rounds. These themes included communication, medical education, patient care, and assessment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results highlight that rounds serve 4 purposes, including communication, medical education, patient care, and assessment. Importantly, both attendings and students agree on what they perceive to be the many purposes of rounds. Despite this, a disconnect appears to exist between what people believe are the purposes of rounds and what is happening during rounds.

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