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The Fakebetes Challenge: A Pilot Study of the Patient as Educator

Michelle Litchman, PhD, FNP-BC


Objective:Healthcare providers do not typically fully understand what it is like to live with a chronic condition. One strategy to help healthcare providers better understand the day-to-day challenges of living with diabetes is to practice being a patient. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of healthcare providers and patient educators who participated in the Fakebetes Challenge, a high-fidelity simulation of living with diabetes that utilized patients who were living with diabetes as teachers.

Research Design and Methods: In this descriptive qualitative pilot study, blogs written by participants following their participation in the Fakebetes challenge were examined using content analysis.

Results: The Fakebetes Challenge was beneficial to both healthcare provider learners and patient experts who served as educators. Three themes were identified: 1) enjoyment from the teaching-learning process of having Fakebetes; 2) healthcare providers ability to relate, understand, and empathize; and 3) Fakebetes challenge concerns and frustrations expressed by Fakebetes Teaching Associates.

Conclusion: The Fakebetes Challenge as a pedagogical approach is promising in educating healthcare providers about the day-to-day challenges of living with diabetes and should be replicated with a larger sample. Patients with personal experience and expertise in diabetes can supplement healthcare provider education and support patient-centered care.

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