Using Bedsider As a Teaching Tool with Medical Students

Many clinicians use Bedsider to help patients decide which method of contraception best fits their lifestyle. Bedsider is a free birth control support network that is dedicated to helping women stick with a method. Bedsider can be integrated into clinical practice in a variety of ways: contraceptive shared decision-making, and post-abortion contraceptive counseling, and birth control education. At UCSF we have also incorporated Bedsider into didactic teaching.

Real Stories

Real stories videos depict short interviews with young people about what method they or their partner use, and why. Patients have strong and diverse preferences about contraceptive methods; the best choice should reflect the patient’s values, and preferences, not those of the provider.

These videos can serve as the foundation for a small group activity that focuses on contraceptive counseling within a shared decision-making framework.

Before the small group activity, review key points of shared-decision making with learners. Key points can be found in our blog on Improving Contraceptive Counseling through a Shared Decision Making Approach: A New Medical Curriculum.

Break learners into groups of 2-3 and have them use this interactive tool, developed with Medical Students For Choice, to practice active listening in contraceptive counseling.

Have learners:

  1. Watch the Real Stories video and respond to comments heard in the video. For example, learners should address concerns about side effects without undermining a patients preferred method in favor of one with higher effectiveness.
  2. Take turns providing non-biased medically accurate information about the method discussed in the video. Learners can look up evidence-based information in the “Methods” section of Bedsider.
  3. Practice answering common patient questions using straightforward language. Refer to Bedsider’s comprehensive list of questions submitted by real people to get an idea of what kind of questions patients commonly ask and find the answers to questions that might not appear in standard medical curricula. Answers are written in colloquial language that is easy to understand.

Bedsider is a resource for educators and learners as well as for individuals seeking information about contraceptive methods. Using Bedsider’s Real Stories videos and the accompanying information can add a hands-on element to didactic teaching about contraception.