Our goal as pediatric educators is to graduate physicians who have witnessed effective approaches and have grasped the nuances of communication strategies between vaccine-hesitant families and health care providers. We identified vaccine hesitancy as a recurring topic in 19 of 304 medical student reflective narratives addressing an issue in professionalism or systems-based practice. We conducted content analysis on the narratives in order to gain a better understanding of student perceptions of visits in which they observed a provider discussing vaccine hesitancy with a parent. We identified four major themes: perceived effectiveness of provider-family communication, student reaction to the encounter, physician approach to vaccine hesitancy, and gaps in students’ own knowledge. Most students described communication positively, despite only 4 of 19 observing eventual vaccine acceptance. Information regarding vaccines, vaccine delivery, and approaches to vaccine hesitancy needs to be introduced and enhanced in the educational curriculum of providers at all levels, including medical students, resident physicians, and attending physicians, in order to ensure that providers possess the comprehension and communication skills to ethically optimize vaccine uptake among patients.


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pp. 59-70
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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