Engaging with real patients in medical school is key to better doctors
What will you be presenting at the inaugural Transform MedEd conference? I'll be speaking about the 'active' engagement of real patients in medical education although their engagement is mediated by 'simulated patients' (individuals who are trained to portray patients). While simulated patient methodology is well established in medical education, at times I think it has drifted from its original intent. Simulated patients are more likely to be proxies for their clinical teachers than for real patients. I'll be presenting on how and why this has occurred, what we might do about it and why we should do something!
What are the trends in medical education to look out for, or new pedagogies trending in the teaching of medical students to prepare them for the healthcare of tomorrow? Without doubt the role of 'digital' learning will have a profound impact – how learners, faculty and others exchange information – when and its format are already shifting educational design, often in structural ways. In my own area of interest, simulation will comprise a substantial educational method in any medical school curriculum. Of course, simulation is a big term and incorporates many 'modalities' – simulated patients (for learning about communication and other elements of professional practice etc.), task trainers (for learning procedural skills etc.), manikins (for learning clinical management of an acutely unwell patient and teamwork skills etc.), virtual patients (for learning about clinical decision-making etc.) and many more. We'll also be knowing much more about when and how students participate in their educational activity through electronic logging of their studies, enabling personalised study schedules.
What is the biggest issue facing medical education today and how can this issue be overcome? One issue is identifying what students will need to know for the changing landscape of clinical practice they will be entering AND that these decisions are made when there is an exponential increase in production of medical knowledge. However, patients will always remain at the centre of care and maintaining this person-centred focus is important. We need to support students in developing approaches to their work and study that will enable them to identify what they need to know to provide the highest quality care.
What is your take on the relevance of this conference? The conference programme and format looks really exciting and features the sorts of changes we should be considering in designing educational activities. I am looking forward to many conversations.