Carson City, Nev. — In what can be called a breakthrough in teaching children with autism, live animator expert Gary Jesch came up with something that will catch the attention of both typically developing children as well as children on the spectrum— a ‘digital puppeteer’.
Thanks to those who read my last post. I was encouraged to hear from my colleagues at Med school that the post sounded very positive and hopefully. A few of them queried whether I had actually written it because there was a noticeable lack of sarcasm or criticism.
So... the following posts may be a bit different. A little warning - some of what I post may be me playing "Devil's advocate" because I believe that everything should be questioned and sparking debate is a good way of making us all evaluate what we truly think on a subject.
With no further a do, let's get on to the subject of today's post ....
An Introduction to Clinical Medicine
The previous year was my first as a clinical med student. Before we started I naively thought that we would be placed in helpful, encouraging environments that would support us in our learning, so that we were able to maximize our clinical experience. My hope was that there would be lots of enthusiastic doctors willing to teach, a well organised teaching schedule and admin staff that would be able to help us with any difficulties. I hoped these would all be in place so that WE medical students could be turned from a bunch of confused, under-grad science students into the best junior doctors we could possibly be.
It seems that medical school and the NHS have a very different opinion of what clinical medical teaching should be like. What they seem to want us to do is 1) listen to the same old health and safety lecture at least twice a term, 2) re-learn how to wash our hands every 4 weeks, 3) Practicing signing our name on a register - even when this is completely pointless because there are no staff at the hospital anyway because the roads are shut with 10 inches of snow most of the time, 4) Master the art of filling in forms that no one will ever look at or use in anyway that is productive, 5) STAY OUT OF THE WAY OF THE BUSY STAFF because we are useless nuisances who spread MRSA and C.Dif where ever we go! How we all learn medicine and pass our exams is any ones guess!
Undergraduate Co-Ordinators - Why won't you make life easier for us?
While at my last placement I was elected as the 3rd year student representative for that hospital. While I was fulfilling that role it got me wondering what it is that Under-grad Co-Ordinators actually do? I thought this may be an interesting topic of debate.
1) Who are they and how qualified are they?
2) what is their job description and what are they supposed to be doing?
3) Are they a universal phenomena? or have they just evolved within the West Midlands?
4) Does anyone know an under-grad Co-Ordinator (UC - not ulcerative colitis) who has actually been more benefit than nuisance?
1) UC's as a species are generally female, middle aged, motherly types who like to colonize obscure offices in far flung corners of NHS training hospitals. They can normally be found in packs or as they are locally known "A Confusion of co-ordinators". How are they qualified? I have absolutely no idea, but I am guessing not degrees in Human Resource Development.
2)I am fairly certain what their job should involve: 1) be a friendly supportive face for the poor medical students; 2) organise a series of lectures; 3) organise the medical students into teaching firms with enthusiastic consultants who are happy to give them regular teaching; 4) ensure the students are taught clinical skills so that they can progress to being competent juniors; 5) be a point of contact for when any students are experiencing difficulties in their hospital and hopefully help them to rectify those problems to aid their learning.
What do they actually do? It seems to be a mystery. I quite regularly receive emails that say that I wasn't in hospital on a certain day, when I was in fact at another hospital that they specifically sent me to on that day. I often receive emails saying that my lectures are cancelled just as I have driven for over an hour through rush hour traffic to attend. I sometimes receive emails saying that I, specifically, am the cause of the whole hospitals MRSA infection because I once wore a tie.
I never receive emails saying that such and such a doctor is happy to teach me. I never receive emails with lecture slides attached to them so that I can revise said lectures in time for an exam. I NEVER receive any emails with anything useful in them that has been sent by a UC!
Questions 3 and 4, I have no idea what the answers are but would be genuinely pleased to hear people's responses.
The reason I have written this blog is that, these people have frustrated my colleagues and I all year. I am sure they are integral to our learning in some way and I am sure that they could be very useful to us, but at the moment I just cannot say that they are as useful as they should be.
To any NHS manager/ medical educator out their I make this plea
I am more than happy to give up 2 weeks of my life to shadow some UC to see what it is they do. In essence I want to audit what it is they do on a day to day basis and work out if they are a cost-effective use of the NHS budget? I want to investigate what it is they spend their time on and how many students they help during a day? I would like someone with a fresh pair of eyes to go into those obscure offices and see if they can find any way of improving the systems so that future generations of medical students do not have to relive the inefficiencies that we have lived through. I want the system to be improved for everyone's sake.
OR if you won't let a medical student audit the process, could you manager's at least send your UC's to learn from other hospitals where things are done better! If we (potential future) doctors have to live by the rule of EVIDENCED BASED MEDICINE, why shouldn't the admin staff live by a similar rule of EVIDENCED BASED ADMINISTRATION? Share good ideas, learn from the best, always look for improvements rather than keep the same old inefficient, pointless systems year after year.
My final point on the subject - at the end of every term we have to fill in long feedback forms on what we thought of the hospital and the teaching. I know for a fact that most of those forms contain huge amounts of criticism - a lot of which was written exactly the same the year before! So, they are collecting all of this feedback and yet nothing seems to change in some hospitals. It all just seems such a pointless waste.
Take away thought for the day.
By auditing and improving the efficiency, of the admin side of an undergraduate medical education, I would hope the system as a whole would be improved and hence better, more knowledgeable, less cynical, less bitter, less stressed junior doctors would be produced as a result. Surely, that is something that everyone involved in medical education should be aiming for.
Who is watching (and assessing) the watchers!
Researchers at Linköping University and the University of Gothenburg have developed a new brain imaging measure to identify autism in boys. The method opens up new possibilities to track progress and improve treatment.
Arabic | Chinese (simplified) | French | German | Hebrew | Hindi | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Portuguese | Romanian | Russian | Spanish | YiddishThese external translations are automated and may not be accurate.
There are loads of survival guides out there to help medical students adapt well to university life but which ones should you be taking notice of? I’ve put together a list of my top 6 must reads - I hope you find them useful.
1. BMJ’s Guide for Tomorrow's Doctors
If you don’t read anything else, read this. It covers everything from the pros and cons of using the library to essential medical websites (check out number 6 on the list :D).
2. Money Matters
Ok, this isn’t the most exciting topic but definitely a stress you could do without. The Money Saving Expert gives some great advice on how to make money and manage your finances.
This guide includes 4 simple but essential study tips relevant throughout your years at university.
4. Dos and Don’ts
Some great advice from Dundee University here on the dos and don’ts of surviving medical school.
5. Advice to Junior Doctors
Karin shares some of her hospital experiences and gives advice to junior doctors.
6. Looking after yourself
To get the most out of university it’s important that you look after yourself. The NHS provide some great tips from eating healthily on a budget to managing stress during exam time.
If you know of any other useful survival guides or would like to create your own please send them across to me firstname.lastname@example.org.
The relationship between patients and doctors has long been based on face-to-face communication and complete confidentiality. Whilst these fundamentals still absolutely remain, the channels of communication across all sectors have changed monumentally, with social media at the forefront of these changes.
Increasingly patients are taking to the Internet to find recommendations for healthcare professionals and to self-diagnose. By having an online presence your business can positively influence these conversations – engaging with the public and colleagues both locally and globally and can facilitate public access to accurate health information. The reality is social media is here to stay, so in 2014 why not make it your resolution to become part of the conversation.
To get you started and so that social media isn’t seen as such a daunting place, SocialB are providing a free eBook containing lots of fantastic advice on how to use social media within the healthcare sector ‘Twitter for Healthcare Professionals’ please visit http://www.socialmedia-trainingcourses.com/top-10-twitter-tips-ebook/ to receive your free copy.
Here are 5 top tips on using social media in 2014:
1. Decide on your online image and adhere to it
Decide how you would like to be portrayed professionally and apply this to your online presence. Create a tone of voice and a company image – in line with your branding and values – and stick to it.
2. Be approachable, whilst maintain professional boundaries
Connecting with patients via social media can help to ease their concerns and develop a certain rapport or trust with you prior to their consultation. However, this must remain professional at all times, and individual advice should not be given. The general rule is that personal ‘friend requests’ should not be accepted; connection over corporate pages and accounts is encouraged to maintain a traditional doctor-patient relationship.
3. Contribute your knowledge, experience and industry information
Social media is a fantastic way to launch an online marketing campaign. Interaction with your patients and potential clients via social networks is an inexpensive way to engage with, and learn from your audience.
As a healthcare professional, you will inevitably take part in conferences, training days and possibly new research. Social media allows you to share your knowledge, enabling your market to be better informed about you and your work.
4. Treat others how you wish to be treated
By engaging with other means that they are more likely to take notice of, and share, your social media updates. Sharing is key and it is this action that will substantially grow your audiences. Maintain your professionalism and pre-agreed tone of voice whilst communicating with others. Make it easy for peers and patients to recommend your level of skill and service, and ensure you recommend fellow healthcare professionals for the same reasons.
5. Consider your audience
Whilst you may be astute at targeting a particular audience as a result of careful market research, always be aware who else can see your online presence. Governing bodies, competitors and the press are just a few examples. Whilst social media tends to be a more informal platform, by following the above points will ensure your professional reputation is upheld.
Thank you Katy Sutherland at SocialB for providing this blog post.
This is a review of 'Research Skills for Medical Students' 1st Edition (Allen, AK – 2012 Sage: London ISBN 9780857256010)
Themes – Research Skills, Critical Analysis Medical Students
Thesis – Research and critical analysis are important skills as highlighted by Tomorrow’s Doctors
Allen, drawing on many years’ experience as a researcher and lecturer in the Institute of Education, at Cardiff University has bridged the gap in Research methodology literature targeted at medical students. Pushing away from comparative texts somewhat dry and unengaging tones, this book encourages student interaction, empowering the student from start to finish. Not so much a book as a helpful hand guiding the student through the pitfalls and benefits of research and critical analysis from start to finish.
Part of the Learning Matters Medical Education series, in which each book relates to an outcome of Tomorrow’s Doctors, this book is written from the a lecturers standpoint, guiding students through making sense of research, judging research quality, how to carry out research personally, writing research articles and how to get writings published. All of these are now imperative skills in what is a very competitive medical employment market.
This concise book, through its clarity, forcefulness, correct and direct use of potentially new words to the reader, Allen manages to fully develop the books objectives, using expert narrative skills.
With Allen’s interest in Global health, it is little wonder why this books exposition is clear and impartial, Allen consistently refers back to the Tomorrows doctors guidelines at the beginning of each chapter, enabling students to link the purpose of that chapter to the grander scheme. This enables Allen to argue the relevance of each chapter to the student before they have disregarded it. Openly declared as a book aimed at medical students (and Foundation trainees where appropriate) the authors style remains formal, but with parent like undertones. It is written to encapsulate and involve the student reader personally, with Allen frequently using ‘you’ as if directly speaking to the reader, and useful and appropriate activities that engage the reader in the research process, in an easy to use student friendly format.
This book is an excellent guide for all undergraduate health students, not limited to medical students, and I thank Ann K Allen for imparting her knowledge in such a useful and interactive way.'
This was original published on medical educator.
What's the problem?
Since I first started working with doctors, one of the main complaints I've heard is about electronic portfolios:
"It's so slow",
"It's really ugly",
"It's basically unusable",
"It crashed the day before submissions!",
"It's SO unintuitive"
I've heard all of these things from different doctors at different stages in different specialities in different locations. Write a tweet about ePortfolio and the odds are you'll have it retweeted and replied to numerous times within minutes. There's clearly a real problem here, and a real frustration among doctors!
What's the Solution?
Over the last two years I've spent lots of time talking to a variety of doctors about this and have come to the conclusion that a new modern, robust solution is needed. We need software that is fresh and intuitive to use, that doesn't get overloaded and that has the features that people actually want!
The Meducation team agrees, and so we've partnered up with our friends at Podmedics to make this a reality. We are making oPortfolio - the Open Portfolio - an open-source system guided by the needs of the trusts, deanaries and colleges, but with a firm focus on the doctors who will be using it. Over the next few days we'll be launching a kickstarter project to let you support what we're doing. In the meantime, please sign up on our website to receive updates about what we're doing!