Dr Nikki Dearnley, Clinical Education Fellow, BSMS
In September 2016 BSMS opened its doors to its first intake of Physicians Associate students. As part of my role as a Clinical Education Fellow I am heavily involved in teaching on this course. When I explain to friends and colleagues what my job involves I often get a lot of questions about the role of a Physician Associate, so I am going to use this blog post as an opportunity both to answer some commonly asked questions and perhaps sell to you the benefits of teaching on this course!
What is a Physicians Associate?
Physician Associates are collaborative healthcare professionals with a generalist medical education. They work alongside doctors to provide medical care as a part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated supervisor, but are able to work independently with appropriate support. Physician Associates work within a defined scope of practice and limits of competence. They can:
In researching how students learn anatomy, I was struck by the stages of learning and the interplay of different factors; spatial ability, personality and approach to learning. Anatomy is a three-dimensional (3D) subject and any learning which includes touch –mediated perception has been shown to increase understanding. The opportunity for 3D learning is limited to the dissection suite and I wanted to create opportunities for this type of learning in the students own environment.
In a process that has taken three years so far, we obtained consent for a recently-deceased individual to have a high fidelity CT scan and then rendered their data set to produce 3D models on a 3D printer. This sentence does make me smile as it is so easy to say but the amount of work involved was considerable. Jointly with an MSc student, we undertook pedagogical research to assess the use and students perceptions of the 3D models. In a continual learning cycle, we have adapted them and the project has grown from a ‘loan system’ to a ‘buy system’, as none of the students wanted to bring the models back!
“The project has grown from a ‘loan system’ to a ‘buy system’, as none of the students wanted to bring the models back!“
The day to day work of the 3D printing is undertaken by Lucinda Evans, Anatomy Technician, and it is her who has the nightmares when it just prints a plastic blob! She has articulately developed her digital skills so that we have been able to successfully produced hundreds of 3D prints to date for our students.
I knew that this project was on the forefront of teaching techniques. 3D printing exists in anatomy but typically much more on a high scale, high price end. Our initiative is akin to a garden shed project – lower scale and lower cost – and hence the models can be offered to the students to purchase for just £5.
“I was of course extremely delighted to be awarded the prize and look forward to presenting the work and collecting the award at ASME in Exeter later this year.“
I decided to apply for the Education Innovation Award of ASME on the ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ philosophy and that I was just pleased that a team would read the application and know of the idea and the work going on within BSMS. I was of course extremely delighted to be awarded the prize and look forward to presenting the work and collecting the award at ASME in Exeter later this year. A manuscript is in submission that covers all of the work and I would be happy to share this if anyone would like further information.
I joined the Department of Medical Education at BSMS, in October 2016, as a Teaching Fellow. One of my motivations for applying for the job was the belief that this faculty could support me in my development as an educator. By refining my teaching skills, understanding and embedding technology (TEL), I would in turn, be providing the best recipe for learning.
Key to developing as a teacher I challenged myself to ask;
What motivates me to teach in a certain way?
Do I repeatedly use the same teaching method to deliver the key points of a session?
Today I facilitated a seminar (Week 5) on sepsis for my SSC in Module 103 #shocked using the flipped classroom approach.
This was the first time I had provided students with reading material (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa010307) and asked them to read it pre-session. This morning’s session was then spent collectively exploring the pathophysiology of sepsis and the evidence behind current clinical guidelines by critiquing appraising this sentinel paper (pre session reading material).
From my observation, this was the most interactive seminar so far and I’m pleased I tried something new! Better still, the students appeared to thoroughly enjoy the session.
Note to self: Be open to change…
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