So today we had our first simulated patient day at Uni. This is where actors come into our Skills lab and pretend to be patients with certain conditions or dispositions and we get to practice on them without fear of making mistakes. It’s a super helpful practice, even at this early stage of our careers, because it helps us feel more comfortable in a consultation environment and it lets us practice different techniques.
The actors that come in are amazing. It’s not just someone who reads a script- they really take on the character and they’re trained to react in certain ways to what we say. I first encountered a simulated patient during my interview at Lancaster University- it was the most uncomfortable thing ever! The patient had obviously been briefed to be as difficult as possible (this was encountered by other interviewees too) and it just totally put me off simulated patients. However, after our experience with these guys today at Manchester, I can safely say they’re going to be massively beneficial to my career!
Obviously at this stage we’re not doing anything clinical- we don’t have any skills in that respect yet- but it’s good to practice just talking in a clinical setting and learning how to get information from people.
We have a specialised Consultation Skills Learning Centre for all our clinical work, which is basically a simulated ward/doctor’s surgery. We have all the equipment a normal practice would have and it helps the whole experience feel a bit more real. Here’s a piccy of one of our skills bays:
We have about 30 of these bays and they’re all super well-equipped. We have the facility for our tutors to watch us on overhead cameras and listen in with microphones too. We do all our clinical session in our PBL group- which is a group of 12 of us who work together through pretty much everything. Here we are looking very smart: