Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Patient. Centered. Learning.


Saw something remarkable today.

I was at a friend's house studying, her son is in third year medicine, and if we sit in the same room I do less surfing the net for claptrap and he does less computer gaming. He was showing me the new video he had been sent.

"Look at this" he said. It showed two cartoon people talking at the screen.

"What is it?"

"It's what used to be our communication tutorial. They stopped doing the tutorials two years ago, now we get these."

I stared at the smiling faces of the cartoon lecturers, talking about confidentiality, punctuality and professionalism.

"This one's called 'how to communicate with patients'" said Andrew.

"Important thing to know. How do you participate?" I asked.

"There's a checklist thing on the internet. Ticking boxes. It's pretty simple."

"Okay. Do you actually see the tutor?"

"I think he's in Melbourne and she's on leave."

"What about the patient? Do you actually get to communicate with a patient?"

"Not really. We're meant to do a video, but everyone just gets their friends or relatives to pretend to be someone and do the video that way. I've got Jules's sister, we're telling her she's got Crohns' disease."

"Jesus" I said.

"It's pretty much the same as last year. Jules did her last year, asked her why she wasn't taking her asthma medication."

"Because she hasn't got asthma?" I hazarded.

"That's maybe it. Hope the whole Crohns thing doesn't come as too much of a shock."

"She should deal with it" I said.

Anyway. That's the golden rule - whoever has the gold makes the rules, and medical and nursing schools are no more immune to this than anyone else, and cartoons are cheaper than consultants - and hopefully Andrew's excellent communication skills with his best friend's sister and his cartoon tutors is able to translate to the real world when he meets sick people.

Thanks for listening,


Blogger Shiny Happy Person said...

Frightening, depressing, but sadly, not surprising.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Camilla said...

That's scary. How is a cartoon lecturer supposed to mark a student or provide feedback on how to communicate better??

1:55 AM  

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