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Abstract: TH-PO019

Love and Breakup Letters to an Online Nephrology Learning Tool

Session Information

  • Educational Research
    November 03, 2022 | Location: Exhibit Hall, Orange County Convention Center‚ West Building
    Abstract Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Category: Educational Research

  • 900 Educational Research


  • Farouk, Samira S., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States
  • Fattah, Layla, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States
  • Sparks, Matthew A., Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • Thomas, David C., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States

NephSIM is a free, open access medical education (FOAMed) tool that aims to teach nephrology to a wide group of learners. It is not known how learners feel about FOAMed as they progress through their training from medical school to fellowship. Love & Breakup Letter Methodology (LBM), while relatively new in medical education, is a technique that has been used extensively in user experience technology-based research. LBM asks participants to creatively write a “love” or “breakup” letter to a product under study to capture their thoughts & emotions when engaging with it. We hypothesized that LBM would allow us to understand reactions towards NephSIM among distinct groups of trainees.


Three 90-min. virtual, recorded focus groups (FG) were conducted with 2nd year medical students (MS), internal medicine residents (IMR), & nephrology fellows (NF). Participants were asked to review selected portions of NephSIM prior to the FG. At the start of the FG, they composed & read their love/breakup letter. Semi-structured FG discussions were led by facilitator-driven questions & peer comments (Fig.1). After FG transcription, analysis was conducted using Braun & Clarke’s 6-step thematic analysis.


Inductive thematic analysis revealed reactions varied by trainee experience & perceived situated learning needs. Differences were identified between groups in terms of learning motivation, perceived application, required effort, & resulting benefit to practice. All 8 MS wrote love letters that highlighted the benefits of NephSIM in developing problem solving, critical thinking, & clinical reasoning skills. In contrast, reactions from 7 IMR & 5 NF were mixed: 6/12 & 6/12 wrote love & breakup letters, respectively. IMR were interested in brevity & speed of learning, preferring algorithms & succinct learning to meet their practice-based learning needs. Nephrology fellows' learning needs were driven by a desire to prepare for the nephrology board examination & review uncommonly seen cases.


LBM provided a valuable methodology through which to identify trainee reactions to a FOAMed tool & highlighted the challenges of meeting learning needs of a continuum of trainees with a single learning platform.