UNE Medical students need patients to poke and prod

Published 26 February 2014

Med student smallThe University of New England is looking for volunteer patients to help train the next generation of high quality rural doctors.

Acting Head of the UNE Rural Medical School, Professor John Nevin, said UNE has more than 300 medical students, who all need to be taught patient interview and examination skills.

“UNE is looking for people with a chronic illness or suitable conditions to join its volunteer patient program and consent to be examined and interviewed by trainee doctors,” Professor Nevin said.

“As part of their five-year medical degree, students need to undertake a range of clinical experiences, from learning how to undertake an accurate medical history, then expanding into a range of physical examinations.

“Not only is this training critical to developing excellent diagnosis skills, but also in producing the best doctors with strong interpersonal skills to support better health outcomes for their patients.”

Professor Nevin said the School was looking for patients with a range of conditions from diabetes to heart disease, or various respiratory, renal, musculoskeletal or even neurological conditions.

“The majority of patients with these sort of illnesses are managed in a community setting in General Practice or in outpatient clinics.

“As a result it can be difficult accessing enough of the right kind of patients to assist in training so many students.”

Professor Nevin said volunteer patient interviews were non-invasive and complete patient safety and confidentiality was assured.

“To find out more, simply speak to your GP at your next appointment to discuss your suitability to be involved.

“Through donating a small amount of your time, one or twice a year, you can make a significant contribution to training better doctors to meet the critical shortage in across Australia and the region.”

Photograph: Third Year Medical Student, Catelyn Cashion takes a volunteer patient’s blood pressure.