The Patient Journey in Medical Education & The Use of Associate Clinical Educators (ACEs)

University of Chester Physician Associate students participating in the patient journey before their community placements

In medical education, the term “patient journey” refers to the comprehensive pathway a patient experiences from the onset of symptoms to the resolution of their health issue. This concept includes all interactions and processes a patient undergoes within the healthcare system. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the key aspects and how an Associate Clinical Educator (a highly trained Simulated Patient) can improve outcomes through high-fidelity simulation and feedback.

1. Initial Encounter

The initial encounter marks the beginning of the patient’s journey and includes the patient’s first recognition of symptoms and their initial steps to seek medical help. This phase can vary greatly depending on the individual’s health literacy, access to care, and socio-economic background. Patients may initially attempt self-care based on their understanding and available resources, seek advice from family or friends, or visit a primary care provider. This phase is crucial as it sets the tone for the subsequent healthcare experiences. In medical education, understanding this initial phase helps future healthcare professionals recognize the diverse entry points into the healthcare system and the barriers patients may face in accessing care.

Health Literacy and Socio-economic Factors

Health literacy plays a significant role in how patients recognize symptoms and decide on their initial steps. Those with higher health literacy are more likely to identify symptoms accurately and seek appropriate care promptly. Socio-economic factors, such as income, education, and access to healthcare services, also influence this initial encounter. For example, individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds may delay seeking medical help due to financial constraints or lack of nearby healthcare facilities.

Barriers to Access

Recognizing and understanding the barriers patients face in accessing care is essential for medical professionals. These barriers can include geographic limitations, financial issues, cultural beliefs, and previous negative experiences with the healthcare system. Addressing these barriers is crucial for improving patient outcomes and ensuring equitable access to healthcare.

Role of the Associate Clinical Educators

ACEs play a crucial role in medical education, particularly in training students to handle initial patient encounters effectively. They are highly trained lay educators & in most cases trained roleplayers who portray patients with specific medical conditions and backgrounds, allowing students to practice and refine their communication and clinical skills in a controlled, realistic setting.

– Enhanced Communication Skills: ACEs provide students with the opportunity to practice eliciting patient histories, understanding patient concerns, and explaining medical concepts in a way that is understandable to individuals with varying levels of health literacy.

– Cultural Competence: ACEs can be used to represent diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, helping students develop cultural competence and learn how to address potential biases and barriers to care.

– Immediate Feedback: ACEs can give immediate, structured feedback from the patient’s perspective, helping students improve their bedside manner, empathy, and ability to make patients feel heard and respected.

– Scenario Variety: Through ACE encounters, students are exposed to a wide range of initial presentation scenarios, from common physical & psychological symptoms to rare conditions, helping them build a broad base of experience and confidence.

– Safe Learning Environment: Using ACEs allows students to make mistakes and learn from them without causing harm to real patients, fostering a safer learning environment and encouraging a growth mindset.

2. Diagnosis

The diagnostic process is a critical step where healthcare professionals gather the patient’s medical history, perform physical examinations, and order diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of the symptoms. This phase involves clinical reasoning and decision-making skills, which are fundamental components of medical training. The accuracy and efficiency of the diagnostic process directly impact the patient’s subsequent treatment and outcomes. Medical students and trainees learn the importance of taking a thorough history, conducting a detailed physical exam, and selecting appropriate diagnostic tests. Additionally, they are taught to consider differential diagnoses and to communicate findings effectively with patients and the healthcare team.

Role of Associate Clinical Educator

ACEs can significantly enhance the training during the diagnostic process:

– Clinical Reasoning: Students practice diagnostic reasoning with ACEs, learning to synthesise patient information and develop differential diagnoses.

– Examination Skills: ACEs help students refine their physical examination techniques and adapt their approach based on patient feedback.

– Diagnostic Tests Interpretation: Through ACE scenarios, students learn to select and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests, understanding the implications of their choices.

3. Treatment Planning

Once a diagnosis is made, developing a treatment plan is the next step in the patient journey. This plan may include medications, surgical interventions, lifestyle changes, or other therapeutic measures. Involving the patient and their family in this process is essential for ensuring that the treatment plan is realistic, acceptable, and adheres to the patient’s preferences and values. In medical education, emphasis is placed on shared decision-making and patient-centred care. Trainees learn to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of treatment options with patients, considering their unique circumstances and goals. This phase highlights the importance of clear communication and the need for healthcare providers to be compassionate and empathetic.

Role of Associate Clinical Educator

ACEs enhance the development of treatment planning skills:

– Shared Decision-Making: ACEs allow students to practice engaging patients in treatment planning, considering their preferences and values.

– Communication of Risks and Benefits: Students learn to clearly explain treatment options, potential outcomes, and risks to patients.

– Patient-Centered Approach: Training with ACEs emphasizes the importance of empathy and respect in developing a collaborative treatment plan.

4. Treatment and Management

The treatment and management phase involves implementing the treatment plan. Patients may need to visit various healthcare providers, undergo procedures, or adhere to specific medication regimens. This phase often requires coordination among multiple healthcare professionals, including specialists, nurses, and allied health staff. Medical education programs stress the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork and the role of each team member in providing comprehensive care. Students are trained in care coordination, time management, and the use of healthcare technologies that facilitate communication and collaboration. This phase also includes managing potential complications and adjusting the treatment plan as necessary based on the patient’s response.

Role of Associate Clinical Educator

ACEs contribute to improving treatment and management skills:

– Interdisciplinary Collaboration: ACE scenarios often involve multiple healthcare providers, teaching students how to work effectively in teams.

– Care Coordination: Students practice coordinating care among different providers and settings, ensuring comprehensive management of the patient’s condition.

– Adaptability: ACEs help students learn to adjust treatment plans based on patient responses and emerging complications.

5. Follow-up and Monitoring

After the initial treatment, ongoing follow-up is necessary to monitor the patient’s progress, manage any side effects, and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. Regular follow-up appointments, lab tests, and imaging studies may be part of this phase. It ensures that the patient is recovering well and that any complications are promptly addressed. In medical education, this phase emphasizes the importance of continuity of care and the role of primary care providers in maintaining long-term patient relationships. Trainees learn to develop follow-up plans, recognize early signs of complications, and provide ongoing support to patients as they navigate their health journey.

Role of Associate Clinical Educator

ACEs play a vital role in training for follow-up and monitoring:

– Long-Term Relationships: Students practice maintaining ongoing relationships with ACEs, simulating real-world follow-up scenarios.

– Monitoring and Adjusting Care: ACEs help students learn to monitor patient progress and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

– Recognition of Complications: Through ACE interactions, students develop the skills to identify and address potential complications early.

6. Outcome and Long-term Care

The patient journey also encompasses long-term outcomes and any necessary chronic care management. This could involve rehabilitation, ongoing medication, lifestyle adjustments, or palliative care in some cases. Long-term care aims to maintain or improve the patient’s quality of life and manage any chronic conditions effectively. Medical education programs highlight the importance of chronic disease management, rehabilitation medicine, and palliative care. Students are taught to develop long-term care plans, coordinate with other healthcare providers, and support patients and their families in managing ongoing health issues. This phase underscores the need for a holistic approach to patient care that addresses physical, emotional, and social aspects of health.

Role of Associate Clinical Educator

ACEs improve training in long-term care and outcomes:

– Chronic Disease Management: ACEs simulate patients with chronic conditions, allowing students to practice developing and managing long-term care plans.

– Rehabilitation and Palliative Care: Students engage with ACEs to understand the complexities of rehabilitation and end-of-life care.

– Holistic Care: ACEs help students appreciate the importance of addressing physical, emotional, and social needs in long-term care.

7. Patient Experience

Throughout the patient journey, the patient’s experience is a crucial component. This includes their interactions with healthcare providers, the clarity of information provided, emotional support, and overall satisfaction with the care received. Patient experience directly impacts health outcomes and adherence to treatment plans. In medical education, understanding the patient experience is essential for training healthcare professionals to provide compassionate and empathetic care. Trainees learn to listen actively to patients, address their concerns, and ensure they feel valued and respected throughout their healthcare journey. Programs often incorporate patient feedback and case studies to highlight the importance of patient-centred care and continuous quality improvement.

Role of Associate Clinical Educator

ACEs significantly enhance the understanding and improvement of patient experience:

– Empathy and Compassion: ACEs provide feedback on students’ communication and interpersonal skills, fostering empathy and compassion.

– Active Listening: Students practice active listening with ACEs, learning to address patient concerns effectively.

– Patient Satisfaction: Training with ACEs helps students understand the factors that contribute to patient satisfaction and overall experience.

Understanding the patient journey in medical education is essential for training healthcare professionals to provide holistic and patient-centered care. It helps students and practitioners appreciate the importance of each step in the process and the need for effective communication, empathy and coordination among healthcare providers to ensure the best outcomes for patients. By comprehensively understanding the patient journey and incorporating ACEs into training, future healthcare professionals can enhance the quality of care and improve the overall patient experience.

Transform Your Healthcare Training with Meducate Academy

  • Are you an institution or training organization providing healthcare education for Medical Students, Physician Associates, Nurses, Pharmacists, or Physiotherapists?
  • Do you incorporate simulation as part of your teaching methodology?
  • Do you aspire for your students to excel in medical knowledge, communication skills, and safe practice?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Meducate Academy will elevate your training programs. With over 25 years of experience, our Associate Clinical Educators specialize in advanced simulation techniques to enhance your curriculum.

We have successfully delivered training courses for Physician Associates, Medical Students, Pharmacists, and Nurses. Recently, we have been honoured to collaborate with The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, assisting in the teaching of musculoskeletal examinations to 3rd and 4th-year medical students from the University of Birmingham and Aston University.

Our impressive clientele includes the University of Birmingham (Pharmacy), the University of Newcastle, the University of Chester (Physician Associate students), and the University of Wolverhampton (Pharmacists). Additionally, we are proud educational partners of The Pharmacy Show, held annually at the NEC, collaborating with our partners at Cliniskills.

We are excited to introduce our latest educational package, “The Patient Journey – A Hands-On Approach”. We invite organizations to join us in this innovative training experience and help shape the future of healthcare education.

Contact Meducate Academy today to take your training programs to the next level.

For an informal chat please get in touch with me: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Meducate’s Recent Achievements & Future Goals In Medical Education

1st Year Physician Associate students collaborate with an ACE on the patient journey at Chester University

Meducate Academy – Reflecting on Our Recent Achievements and Future Goals in Medical Education

As summer approaches, it’s an ideal time to reflect on Meducate Academy’s accomplishments over the past few months and consider how we can continue to elevate our teaching standards. This period has been marked by a diverse array of topics and students, ranging from potential medical students to seasoned professionals, including pharmacists, physician associates, and doctors.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the busy months we’ve had at Chester University Medical School, our rewarding engagements with the Physician Associate Programme, and our collaborative efforts with Cliniskills. We’ll also share insights into our expanding reach to Aston and Kensington, ongoing work with the University of Birmingham Pharmacy undergraduates, and the exciting addition of Ruth Newton as our new Ambassador for Pharmacy. Stay tuned for upcoming events and more details on how we are continuously striving to make a meaningful impact in medical education.

Busy Months at Chester University Medical School

The University of Chester Medical School has kept us particularly busy, especially with the new medical school opening in September. Throughout April and May, we conducted numerous interviews to assess prospective students. It’s a privilege to be part of this process, focusing on evaluating candidates’ communication skills and problem-solving abilities. Alongside Mark Reynolds, who played the role of a patient during our roleplay sessions, I acted as an assessor, ensuring we identified students with strong interpersonal skills. While most sessions were held at the university, we also conducted several virtual interviews for international candidates on Teams.

Engaging Physician Associate Students

Our work with the Physician Associate Programme has been equally demanding and rewarding. We’ve primarily engaged with first-year students, helping them apply their foundational knowledge in cardiology, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and cranial nerve examinations. These sessions incorporated high-fidelity simulations to enhance their developing communication skills. The “Patient Journey” simulation, in particular, demonstrated the effectiveness of this blended learning approach.

In medical education, the term “patient journey” refers to the comprehensive pathway a patient experiences from the onset of symptoms to the resolution of their health issue. This concept includes all interactions and processes a patient undergoes within the healthcare system. Our ACEs provide the student Physician Associate with a realistic hi-fidelity simulation of a “real patient” Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects:

Initial Encounter: This includes the patient’s first recognition of symptoms and their initial steps to seek medical help, which could involve self-care, consulting with family, or visiting a primary care provider.

Diagnosis: The journey continues with the diagnostic process, where healthcare professionals gather the patient’s history, perform physical examinations, and order diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Treatment Planning: Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan is developed. This could involve medications, surgeries, lifestyle changes, or other therapeutic interventions. The plan may be discussed with the patient and their family, considering their preferences and concerns.

Treatment and Management: This phase includes the implementation of the treatment plan. The patient might need to visit various healthcare providers, undergo procedures, or follow specific regimens. This phase often requires coordination between multiple healthcare professionals.

Follow-up and Monitoring: After the initial treatment, ongoing follow-up is necessary to monitor the patient’s progress, manage any side effects, and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. This phase ensures that the patient is recovering well and that any complications are promptly addressed. (This would be discussed with the student but not simulated.)

Outcome and Long-term Care: The patient journey also encompasses the long-term outcomes and any necessary chronic care management. This could involve rehabilitation, ongoing medication, lifestyle adjustments, or palliative care in some cases.

Patient Experience: Throughout this journey, the patient’s experience is a crucial component. This includes their interactions with healthcare providers, the clarity of information provided, emotional support, and overall satisfaction with the care received. In this case, the ACE would give measured and accurate feedback on the process alongside a clinician who would give feedback on the clinical aspects of the interaction.

In medical education, understanding the patient journey is essential for training healthcare professionals to provide holistic and patient-centred care. It helps students and practitioners appreciate the importance of each step in the process and the need for effective communication, empathy, and coordination among healthcare providers to ensure the best outcomes for patients.

Collaborations with Salford University

In the Northwest, we had the opportunity to collaborate with the simulation team at Salford University. Greg and Mark delivered a comprehensive demonstration of musculoskeletal (MSK) examinations, both on-site and via Teams for remote participants. This experience highlighted our expertise in MSK examinations, an area where our founder and director, Bob, continues to make significant contributions at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham as an independent ACE.

Our YouTube channel features a full range of MSK examination tutorials, which we encourage those interested to explore.

Expanding Our Reach: Aston and Kensington

Next, we expanded our reach to Aston and Kensington, working with a large team of Associate Clinical Educators (ACEs). In collaboration with Cliniskills, we ran several stations to teach pharmacists how to conduct ENT, cardiovascular, and blood pressure examinations. This was very well received and the work will continue into 2025.

Continuing with the theme of pharmacy, we also delivered training on gastrointestinal and respiratory examinations to experienced pharmacists at the Humanitarian Academy for Development. The pharmacists’ enthusiasm and engagement during these sessions were truly inspiring.

Ongoing Work with the University of Birmingham

Our ongoing collaboration with the University of Birmingham’s undergraduate pharmacy program has been highly productive. We have been actively involved in Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and teaching sessions. In the coming weeks, we look forward to participating in staff training sessions.

Welcoming Ruth Newton and Upcoming Events

We are delighted to welcome Ruth Newton as our new Ambassador for Pharmacy. Ruth, a medical education and nutrition pharmacist at The Countess of Chester Hospital, also serves as a visiting lecturer for the Physician Associate Programme at the University. I’ll be hosting a podcast with Ruth for Meducate Academy soon, so stay tuned for that.

Additionally, we are excited to announce our involvement in this year’s Pharmacy Show at the NEC. Being invited once again as educational partners is an honour, and we look forward to bringing our workshops to a wider audience. More details on this will be shared soon.

In summary, the past few months have been a period of significant activity and achievement. As we move forward, we remain committed to improving our teaching standards and expanding our reach to make a meaningful impact in medical education.

Join us on our journey of advancing healthcare education and empowering professionals for the challenges that lie ahead. Stay updated on our upcoming training sessions and university collaborations by bookmarking and following our blog Associate Clinical Educators.

If you’re a Clinical Lead or Medical Role Player and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., or if you would like us to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

 

Mindfulness: A Vital Tool for Healthcare Professionals

A healthcare professional practices mindfulness meditation to help with work stress and finds a moment of calm amidst the chaos of the ward

In the demanding landscape of healthcare, where stress and burnout loom large, mindfulness emerges as a vital tool for resilience and renewal. Mindfulness, characterized by intentional presence in the present moment with an open heart and non-judgmental awareness, offers healthcare professionals a transformative ally in navigating their challenging journey with clarity, compassion, and steadfastness.

The pressures of the healthcare profession are immense, marked by gruelling schedules, high-stakes decisions, and relentless expectations for flawless care. In this crucible, it’s all too common for healthcare providers to feel overwhelmed, leading to stress, anxiety, and compassion fatigue. However, mindfulness serves as a powerful remedy in this chaos, providing a host of benefits that extend well beyond individual well-being, profoundly influencing patient care and outcomes. Chief among these benefits is stress reduction. Through consistent mindfulness practice, healthcare professionals develop a keen awareness of their internal and external stressors, enabling them to respond with resilience even in the face of adversity.

Research consistently demonstrates the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in alleviating stress, anxiety, and burnout among healthcare providers, ultimately enhancing job satisfaction and overall wellness. Moreover, mindfulness cultivates self-awareness and emotional intelligence, empowering healthcare professionals to navigate their inner landscape with grace.

By fostering a non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, healthcare providers deepen their capacity for empathy and compassion towards themselves and their patients. This heightened empathy enriches therapeutic relationships and leads to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Furthermore, mindfulness enhances clinical effectiveness by sharpening focus and attention during patient interactions, improving communication, diagnostic accuracy, and treatment adherence. Mindfulness-based interventions also contribute to a reduction in medical errors and better clinical decision-making, enhancing the quality and safety of patient care.

Integrating mindfulness into healthcare settings requires minimal time and specialized training. Simple yet profound practices like mindful breathing and meditation can be seamlessly incorporated into daily routines, providing moments of calm amidst the chaos.

Additionally, tailored mindfulness programs catered to the specific needs of healthcare professionals offer opportunities for deeper exploration and skill refinement. As healthcare organizations increasingly prioritize staff well-being, mindfulness emerges as a cornerstone in fostering a culture of wellness and compassion.

By investing in mindfulness training and resources, healthcare institutions create supportive environments that benefit both patients and providers. In embracing mindfulness, healthcare professionals embark on a journey towards greater well-being, resilience, and clinical effectiveness, enriching the lives they touch and the care they provide. Let us embrace mindfulness as a catalyst for healing and transformation as we navigate the complexities of modern healthcare.

As well as working in my capacity as an Associate Clinical Educator, I facilitate a weekly online meditation session every Tuesday evening. What sets this meditation group apart is its distinctive approach—it’s characterized by a lack of pretension, and we often find humour in our shared experiences, frequently directed at me. This unique dynamic, which I take pride in, serves as a constant reminder to maintain a balanced and grounded perspective, emphasizing the importance of navigating life with a sense of lightness and avoiding undue attachment to rigid ideas and beliefs.

Recognizing the common human inclination towards seeking answers and a roadmap for a fulfilled life, I’ve formulated an 8-fold path—a practical framework for regular self-reflection and mindfulness. This framework is not intended as a rigid set of rules but rather as flexible guidelines drawing inspiration from diverse sources, fostering adaptability.

1. Cultivate Mindful Awareness: Regular meditation practice becomes a cornerstone for honing focus and attention. Extending mindfulness to everyday life allows for direct experiences and the development of control over impulsive reactions. Employing sensory acuity, activating all five senses, creates a heightened connection with the external world.

2. Embrace Open-Mindedness: Encourage a genuine openness to new ideas. Navigate discomfort by examining its physical manifestations, challenging existing beliefs, and considering alternative perspectives. The ability to discard beliefs after thorough examination is emphasized, recognizing the transient nature of thoughts.

3. Promote Adaptability: Embrace flexibility by adjusting strategies when faced with challenges or setbacks. Introducing novel challenges disrupts routines, expanding behavioural choices and emphasizing the value of maintaining a variety of options.

4. Cultivate Resilience: Frame setbacks as valuable feedback rather than failures. Embrace the understanding that every experience provides lessons for growth. Encouraging self-compassion and focusing on continuous improvement fosters resilience.

5. Practice Pragmatism: When confronted with unexpected outcomes, adopt a pragmatic mindset. Evaluate the situation and consider, “What would be the most useful thing to do now?” Prioritizing practical actions over dwelling on unmet expectations promotes effective decision-making.

6. Embody Responsibility: Through a combination of pragmatism and resilience, take responsibility for one’s actions and their broader impact on others. Living in the moment allows for a comprehensive assessment of the consequences of one’s choices. Regularly ponder, “How will my actions affect those around me?”

7. Foster Creativity: Engage in imaginative exercises to generate innovative ideas and solutions. Set aside dedicated time to combine three unrelated concepts, observing the emergence of novel insights. Nurturing creativity contributes to personal and collective growth.

8. Sustain Curiosity: Retain a sense of curiosity as a driving force for personal development. Explore new literature, ideas, skills, and languages. Approach doubts with a curious mindset, asking, “What would happen if this worked out?” Acknowledge the transformative potential of small changes on personal and interpersonal levels.

Experiment with integrating these principles into daily life, observing their impact. As with ripples from a pebble in a pond, recognize that even subtle changes in personal behaviour can have a meaningful influence on those in your educational and clinical spheres.

Explore the Transformative Power of Mindfulness!

Are you eager to unlock the potential of mindfulness and witness its profound impact on both your personal journey and the lives of those around you? Look no further!

Join us for an enlightening two-hour online workshop dedicated to delving deep into the power of mindfulness on Sunday 19th May 2024 10:00 – 12:00 BST or Wednesday, 22 May 2024 10:00 – 12:00 BST.

Workshop Highlights:

  • Gain Insight: Discover how mindfulness can revolutionize your daily life, fostering clarity, resilience, and inner peace.
  • Practical Techniques: Learn invaluable mindfulness practices that you can seamlessly integrate into your routine, enhancing your well-being and relationships.
  • Interactive Sessions: Engage in thought-provoking discussions and activities designed to deepen your understanding and experience of mindfulness.
  • Expert Guidance: Benefit from the wisdom and expertise of seasoned mindfulness practitioners who will guide you every step of the way.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to embark on a transformative journey towards a more mindful existence! Click on the link below to go to our page on Eventbrite to book your place. See you at the workshop!

Sign Up Now to Reserve Your Spot!

Sunday 19th May 2024 10:00 – 12:00 BST

Wednesday, 22 May 2024 10:00 – 12:00 BST.

Effective Clinical Communication: A Guide for Associate Clinical Educators

Meducate Academy Founder, Bob, assists a Pharmacy Undergraduate in managing a challenging patient encounter
Meducate Academy Founder and Training Director Bob helps a Pharmacy Undergraduate deal with a difficult patient

Navigating the intricacies of clinical communication is imperative for Associate Clinical Educators as they mould the next generation of healthcare professionals. Understanding this necessity, I’ve meticulously crafted a condensed yet thorough resource to bolster teaching efforts. Whether guiding budding medical practitioners or refining personal aptitude, this guide is designed to serve as an invaluable asset.

Mike Kinsella, Associate Clinical Educator, emphasizes effective communication during a cardiovascular exam with Undergraduate Pharmacists at The University of Birmingham
Associate Clinical Educator Mike Kinsella explains the importance of good communication with Undergraduate Pharmacists at The University of Birmingham

As an Associate Clinical Educator, it’s crucial for us to periodically revisit the expectations we have for our students concerning clinical communication. Recognizing this need, I’ve developed a concise yet comprehensive aid to assist you during your teaching endeavours. Whether you’re guiding aspiring medical professionals or refreshing your understanding, this simplified aide memoire aims to be a valuable resource for all.

In the realm of medicine, effective communication is not just a skill; it’s an art form. From conveying critical information to patients and their families to collaborating seamlessly with colleagues, the ability to communicate clearly and empathetically is paramount for any healthcare professional. In this guide, we delve into the importance of clinical communication for healthcare providers and offer valuable insights to help master this essential aspect of medical practice.

Why is Clinical Communication Important?

Clear and effective communication lies at the heart of quality healthcare delivery for several reasons:

1. Patient Understanding: Patients often come to healthcare settings feeling vulnerable and anxious. Clear communication helps them understand their condition, treatment options, and what to expect, fostering trust and cooperation.

2. Informed Decision-Making: Informed consent is a cornerstone of medical ethics. Effective communication ensures that patients have the information they need to make decisions about their care that align with their values and preferences.

3. Team Collaboration: Healthcare is rarely a solitary endeavour. Effective communication among healthcare teams is crucial for coordinated care, preventing errors, and optimizing patient outcomes.

4. Empathy and Support: Patients and their families are not just cases; they are human beings facing challenging circumstances. Empathetic communication can provide comfort and support, improving the overall patient experience.

Key Principles of Clinical Communication

1. Active Listening: This involves not just hearing, but truly understanding what the patient is saying. Pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues, and encourage patients to express their concerns and preferences.

2. Clarity and Simplicity: Medical jargon can be confusing for patients. Use plain language and avoid technical terms whenever possible. Ensure that patients leave consultations with a clear understanding of their condition and treatment plan.

3. Empathy and Respect: Treat patients with dignity and respect, and strive to understand their perspectives and emotions. Empathy goes a long way in building trust and rapport.

4. Cultural Competence: Recognize and respect cultural differences that may influence communication preferences and healthcare decisions. Tailor your approach accordingly to ensure effective communication across diverse patient populations.

5. Nonverbal Communication: Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice can convey as much meaning as words. Maintain eye contact, use open body language, and convey warmth and compassion in your interactions.

6. Adaptability: Every patient is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Be flexible in your communication style, adapting it to suit the individual needs and preferences of each patient.

Tools and Techniques for Improving Clinical Communication

1. Patient-Centered Communication Models: Familiarize yourself with frameworks such as the SPIKES protocol for breaking bad news or the teach-back method for confirming patient understanding. These structured approaches can help streamline communication and ensure key points are addressed.

2. Role-Playing and Simulation: Practice communication skills through role-playing exercises or simulation scenarios. This allows you to hone your abilities in a safe and supportive environment, receiving feedback from peers and mentors.

3. Continuing Education: Attend workshops, seminars, and online courses focused on communication skills in healthcare. Continuing education opportunities can provide valuable insights and strategies for enhancing your clinical communication abilities.

4. Feedback and Reflection: Solicit feedback from patients, colleagues, and supervisors on your communication skills. Reflect on your experiences, identifying areas for improvement and setting goals for ongoing development.

Conclusion

Effective clinical communication is not just a desirable skill; it’s an ethical imperative and a cornerstone of quality healthcare delivery. By embracing principles of empathy, clarity, and cultural competence, healthcare providers can forge stronger connections with patients, facilitate informed decision-making, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. Through ongoing practice, education, and reflection, mastering the art of clinical communication is within reach for every healthcare professional.

Join us on our journey of advancing healthcare education and empowering professionals for the challenges that lie ahead. Stay updated on our upcoming training sessions and university collaborations by bookmarking and following our blog Associate Clinical Educators.

If you’re a Clinical Lead or Medical Role Player and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., or if you would like us to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Meducate Academy’s Unwavering Commitment to Pharmacists & Physician Associates

Meducate Academy working-alongside-Cliniskills in-Slough

Meducate Academy is making waves in healthcare education, from a successful venture with Physician Associate students at Chester Medical School to expanding collaboration with Cliniskills across multiple locations. Discover the positive impact of our training, empowering healthcare professionals and advancing education as we share insights into our rigorous training programs, specialized sessions for pharmacists, and our pivotal role in supporting the upcoming NHS Pharmacy First directive in 2024.

What an extraordinary month it has been for Meducate Academy and its committed team of Associate Clinical Educators!

The journey commenced with our customary venture to Chester, where we collaborated with the newest cohort of Physician Associate students at Chester Medical School. It’s a momentous occasion as they embark on their two-year educational journey, and engaging with them about the upcoming year is always a highlight.

As the weeks unfolded, we further solidified our partnership with Cliniskills, extending our reach from Preston to Slough, Oxford and Reading. Our teams spent two days at each venue, actively participating in the training of Community Pharmacists, focusing on ENT and basic cardio examinations. The enthusiasm and dedication displayed by our educators in upskilling experienced health professionals were evident, with a robust presence of ten on each team.

A happy team of ACEs delivering quality teaching for our friends at Cliniskills
A delighted team of ACEs, after delivering top-notch teaching sessions for our valued partners at Cliniskills

At Meducate Academy, we take pride in our commitment to excellence, ensuring that only the most experienced ACEs join our ranks. We offer continuous on-the-job training and quarterly sessions, with our upcoming session scheduled in Birmingham on February 10th, fully booked due to overwhelming demand. If you aspire to train with us, be sure to get in touch or stay tuned to our blog for updates.

Responding to the high demand for ACEs in the Pharmacy profession, our training will be tailored to meet their specific needs. Our focus will encompass ENT procedures, manual blood pressure, basic cardio examination techniques, and even some gastrointestinal exams. During the session, we will delve into the CEST model, ensuring our training material aligns perfectly with the requirements.

With the imminent rollout of NHS England’s Pharmacy First directive in 2024, our strong partnership with Cliniskills has proven invaluable. Recognizing the benefits of high-fidelity simulation, they consistently enlist our Associate Clinical Educators for most of their courses. Cliniskills boasts a dynamic and engaging online learning platform alongside in-person training, providing a comprehensive learning experience.

The feedback from these sessions has been overwhelmingly positive, with a community pharmacist expressing how the clinical examination skills learned would empower him to confidently assess common conditions, identify high-risk presentations and red flags, and conduct hands-on examinations for Ear, Nose & Throat and Blood Pressure checks.

As we navigate through this dynamic landscape, Meducate Academy remains dedicated to advancing healthcare education and empowering professionals for the challenges that lie ahead.

Bob teaching 4th year Undergraduate Pharmacy students Cranial Nerves Examination technique at The University of Birmingham
Bob leading an engaging session for fourth-year Undergraduate Pharmacy students at The University of Birmingham

Our commitment to supporting The University of Wolverhampton and The University of Birmingham’s Undergraduate Pharmacy courses remains unwavering. We actively contribute to their programs through sessions focusing on communication and systems examinations.

In a recent endeavour, we conducted a session for fourth-year students at Birmingham, delving into the intricate subject of Cranial Nerves. While navigating the complexities of this topic can be demanding, the students actively engaged with our experienced ACEs, and to our delight, they left the session with smiles on their faces. Achieving such positive outcomes in a challenging area like Cranial Nerves is indeed a commendable feat.

Join us on our journey of advancing healthcare education and empowering professionals for the challenges that lie ahead. Stay updated on our upcoming training sessions and university collaborations by bookmarking and following our blog Associate Clinical Educators.

If you’re a Clinical Lead or Medical Role Player and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., or if you would like us to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Mastering Leadership in Medical Training: A Comprehensive Guide

Meducate Academy ACEs emphasise collaboration, innovation, and excellence in the dynamic field of medical training.

Discover practical insights for effective leadership in medical training with a focus on key concepts like the SMARTER model, team management styles, and situational leadership. Our guide discusses the importance of self-reflection, pacing in leadership, and applying a model based on environment, behaviour, beliefs, values, identity, and vision. Emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and excellence in the dynamic field of medical training, the guide outlines a commitment to empowerment and transformative leadership. Exploring leadership styles, it concludes with an overview of directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating, offering detailed behavioural approaches. A valuable resource for healthcare professionals navigating the complexities of leadership in medical training.

In my extensive experience collaborating with various organizations and overseeing my personal ventures, such as managing one of the largest Muay Thai groups in the UK and founding the Meducate Academy, I’ve come to understand the essence of effective leadership. Leading from the front, actively participating, and providing support are pivotal elements in successful leadership—a stark contrast to organizations merely paying lip service to teamwork.

Frustration often arose when working for teams that didn’t align actions with their words. This discontent led me to prefer entrepreneurial pursuits, where I could both work for myself and empower others. Many have asked me about the qualities of a good leader, prompting me to reflect on and document my fundamental leadership principles.

Here’s a concise overview of key ideas I apply daily. Your insights and experiences on these concepts are highly encouraged:

“When the best leader’s work is done, people say, ‘We did it ourselves’.”

Embrace the SMARTER Model:

· Specific
· Measurable
· Achievable
· Realistic
· Timely
· Ecology
· Resources

Recognize the 4 team management styles, with the ultimate aim of becoming a situational leader:

· A boss has conscripts; a leader has recruits.
· A boss wields power; a leader holds influence.
· A boss says “I will”; a leader says “we will.”
· A boss gets people to do things; a leader inspires them to want to do things.
· A boss is obeyed; a leader is followed.

Reflect on your leadership role in life:

· Identify existing leadership roles.
· Consider where you serve as a role model.
· Define what aspect of leadership appeals to you.
· Explore why you want to be a leader and what it will bring you.

Understand the importance of pacing in leadership, acknowledging and aligning with others’ starting points.

Pacing in Organizations Leading in Organizations:

· Manager – Leader

o Seeks control. – Facilitates change
o Keeps procedures going. – Creates new procedures
o Does things right. – Does the right things
o Mainly at the neurological level of skill. – At the neurological level of identity
o Administration. – Innovation
o Get people to do things. – Get people to want to do things by appealing to their beliefs and identity

When thinking about leadership and team building I tend toward using the following model:

ENVIRONMENT

Current Circumstances: Engaged in the dynamic field of medical training, navigating the challenges and opportunities that arise within this evolving landscape.

Workplace Details and Colleagues: Collaborating with a diverse team of healthcare professionals, educators, and administrators. Thriving in an environment that values innovation, teamwork, and excellence in medical education.

Daily Routine and Impact on Others: Diligently shaping the medical training landscape. My contributions positively impact colleagues by fostering a culture of continuous learning, effective collaboration, and patient-centred care.

BEHAVIOR AND CAPABILITIES

Skills and Appreciated Qualities: Demonstrate proficiency in your relevant skills, with a keen ability to specialise.

Recognized Strengths and Praised Attributes: Acknowledged for Specific Strengths, including Strategic Planning, and Decision-making. Colleagues appreciate my Attributes, e.g., empathy that enhances team dynamics and elevates the workplace culture.

Communication Skills: Possess strong verbal and written communication skills, effectively conveying complex medical concepts to diverse audiences. Recognized for fostering open communication and active listening within the team.

BELIEFS AND VALUES

Importance of Leadership: Hold a deep conviction regarding the transformative power of leadership in advancing medical training and healthcare. Believe that strong leadership is instrumental in creating a positive impact on both professionals and patient outcomes.

Desired Accomplishments: Aspire to your Leadership Goals, e.g., enhance medical curriculum, and foster interdisciplinary collaboration to contribute significantly to the advancement of medical education. Committed to achieving tangible outcomes that reflect excellence and innovation.

Beliefs About Good Leadership: Adhere to the philosophy that good leadership involves your Leadership Philosophy, e.g., empowering others, leading by example. Value collaborative decision-making, inclusivity, and a visionary approach to navigating challenges in the medical field.

IDENTITY

Self-Perception as a Leader: Embrace my role as a leader with humility, recognizing the privilege and responsibility it entails. Strive to be an authentic, approachable leader who leads with integrity and empathy.

Alignment with Personal Values and Lifestyle: Align leadership practices with your values, e.g., integrity, and continuous learning. Integrate leadership seamlessly into your lifestyle, emphasizing the importance of a balanced and purposeful approach.

Preferred Leadership Models: Draw inspiration from leadership models that prioritize your Preferred Leadership Models, e.g., servant leadership, and transformational leadership. Continuously seek to evolve and refine your leadership style to meet the evolving needs of the medical training landscape.

VISION

Motivations for Leadership: Motivated by the opportunity to contribute to the future of healthcare through impactful leadership in medical training. Aspire to inspire and nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Vision Fuel Sources: Driven by a vision fueled by:

· Personal development: Constantly evolving as a leader and learner.
· Relationships: Building strong, collaborative partnerships within and beyond the medical community.
· Family: Striving for a healthcare system that prioritizes the well-being of families and communities.
· Work: Envisioning a workplace that values innovation, inclusivity, and continuous improvement.
· Health: Committed to promoting health and wellness within the medical community.
· Leisure: Finding inspiration and rejuvenation in moments of leisure to sustain passion and commitment.

This leadership CV encapsulates a commitment to mastering leadership within the intricate realm of medical training, emphasizing collaboration, empowerment, and a transformative approach to leadership.

Exploring Leadership Styles and Behaviours

1. Directing: Providing Specific Instructions and Close Supervision

In the directing leadership style, a leader takes charge by offering precise instructions and closely overseeing tasks. This approach is often employed in situations where clarity and control are paramount. A directing leader provides a roadmap for team members, leaving little room for interpretation. This style is effective in high-stakes scenarios where immediate decisions and actions are crucial.

Behavioural Approach: Directive

· Structure: Clearly outline tasks, goals, and expectations.
· Supervise: Monitor progress closely, ensuring adherence to guidelines.
· Control: Establish a controlled environment, maintaining order and discipline.

2. Coaching: Directing, Supervising, Explaining, Soliciting Suggestions, and Supporting Progress

Coaching involves a more interactive leadership style, where the leader not only provides guidance but actively engages with team members. This approach includes explaining decisions, seeking input, and offering support for personal and professional growth. The coaching style is effective in developing team members’ skills and fostering a collaborative environment.

Behavioural Approach: Directive and Supportive

· Structure: Provide a framework while encouraging input.
· Supervise: Offer guidance and support, ensuring progress.
· Listen: Actively engage with team members, seeking and valuing their input.
· Encourage: Support individual and team progress, praising achievements.

3. Supporting: Facilitating and Supporting Subordinates’ Efforts

The supporting leadership style involves empowering team members by offering guidance and facilitating their efforts. This approach values collaboration and shared responsibility for decision-making. Leaders who adopt this style create an environment where individuals feel supported and encouraged to contribute their ideas and skills.

Behavioural Approach: Supportive

· Praise: Acknowledge and appreciate team members’ contributions.
· Facilitate: Enable collaboration and provide necessary resources.
· Listen: Foster open communication, valuing diverse perspectives.
· Encourage: Cultivate a supportive atmosphere, promoting shared responsibility.

4. Delegating: Turning Over Responsibility and Problem-Solving

Delegating is a leadership style where the leader entrusts team members with responsibilities and problem-solving tasks. This approach relies on the expertise and autonomy of team members, promoting a sense of ownership. Leaders who adopt a delegating style empower their team to take initiative and showcase their skills.

Behavioural Approach: Supportive

· Praise: Recognize achievements resulting from delegated responsibilities.
· Facilitate: Ensure team members have the necessary resources and support.
· Listen: Encourage open communication for effective problem-solving.
· Encourage: Reinforce a culture of initiative and autonomy.

Avoiding Seagull Management: Consistent Commitment and Engagement

Seagull management, characterized by swooping in, creating chaos, and departing, is detrimental to effective leadership. Leaders should steer clear of this approach and instead focus on consistent commitment and engagement. Effective leadership requires ongoing dedication to understanding team dynamics, fostering a positive work environment, and providing continuous support. By avoiding the pitfalls of seagull management, leaders can establish trust, build strong teams, and achieve sustained success in their endeavours.

If you’re a Clinical Lead and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., we would love to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Empowering Medical Education: Meducate Academy’s 2023 Achievements

Celebrating a dynamic year marked by unprecedented success for Meducate Academy, our journey unfolds with dedicated professionals actively sharing expertise with diverse students, from Physician Associates to Pharmacists. At the heart of our triumphs lies The Pharmacy Show, a pinnacle event in the pharmaceutical landscape, propelling us to be educational partners once again in 2024. Our impactful Consultation and Clinical Skills Workshops, collaborations with esteemed institutions, and a partnership with Cliniskills underscore our commitment to upskilling Pharmacists. As we bid farewell to 2023, stay tuned for undisclosed projects set to revolutionize Pharmacy in 2024. Join us on this empowering journey, and let’s make 2024 another year of triumph and excellence in medical education. Read on…

It has been an exceptionally dynamic period for Meducate Academy, marking our busiest year to date. The thriving momentum is not only a cause for celebration within the company but also for the dedicated professionals collaborating with us. Over the past months, our experts have been actively sharing their wealth of knowledge with a diverse group of students, ranging from Physician Associates, Nurses, and Medical Students to recently added Pharmacists.

In the context of our recent endeavours, it is noteworthy to highlight the resounding success we experienced at The Pharmacy Show held at the NEC. The positive response was so overwhelming that we have been invited to be educational partners once again in 2024, with an even larger venue for our Practical, Clinical, and Consultation Forum. This time, the forum unfolded in a 30-seater theatre space right in the heart of the NEC, as captured in the attached video.

Meducate Academy Teaching at The Pharmacy Show 2023 at the NEC BirminghamThe Pharmacy Show, held at the NEC Birmingham is a hallmark event in the pharmaceutical landscape and has become a resounding success for us, prompting our invitation to serve as educational partners once again in 2024. The overwhelming response has necessitated a move to an even grander venue to accommodate our expanding Practical, Clinical, and Consultation Forum.

In the previous edition, our Forum unfolded within the dynamic ambience of a 30-seater theatre nestled at the heart of the NEC, as vividly captured in the attached video. The success of this endeavour has propelled us to secure an even larger space for the upcoming event, ensuring an immersive and enriching experience for all participants.

Speaking of success, our significant achievements at The Pharmacy Show underscore its position as the UK’s foremost provider of education and communication for community pharmacists. Boasting a legacy of over 40 years, The Pharmacy Show is synonymous with industry excellence and is celebrated for its influential publications such as Pharmacy Magazine, Training Matters, P3Pharmacy, Independent Community Pharmacists, and Counterintelligence Plus.

Notably, The Pharmacy Show extends its reach into the digital realm through The Pharmacy Network (TPN), a robust platform with a staggering 100,000 registered individuals. Participating in this show is not just a presence; it is a testament to the honour bestowed upon us as contributors to a community that values knowledge dissemination and professional development. As we gear up for the 2024 edition, the prospect of engaging with a broader audience and contributing to the growth of the pharmaceutical landscape fills us with anticipation and pride.

Our Consultation and Clinical Skills Workshops garnered immense interest, with some sessions even selling out. The feedback received from participants was outstanding, leading to invitations to conduct workshops at the BPSA Eastern Region conference at Nottingham University, where student feedback was similarly commendable.

A notable attendee at The Pharmacy Show was Ruth Edwards, the Head of the Pharmacy School, with whom we have established a working relationship at Wolverhampton University School of Pharmacy. This collaboration extends to assisting in their Undergraduate program and contributing to their OSCEs in the upcoming year.

Our involvement in Clinical and Consultation skills training aligns with the recent government directive mandating the upskilling of Pharmacists from 2024 onward. This initiative has already commenced at the University of Birmingham and Wolverhampton University, and we are enthusiastic about sustaining these relationships into the future.

A significant project on our agenda involves a partnership with Cliniskills, providing Clinical Examination Skills Training for Community Pharmacists. This fully funded, free-to-access resource, tailored for community pharmacists, aims to enhance their ability to assess patients, treat common conditions, and identify high-risk presentations. The positive reception at venues in Birmingham and Bristol has us eagerly anticipating future sessions in Manchester and Slough.

A substantial portion of our work involves collaboration with Physician Associates at Chester University, led by James Ennis. The continuous growth of our relationship with students is a testament to the dedication of the teaching team, which remained unwavering even throughout the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The last Physician Associate cohort at The University of Wolverhampton 2023

While we bid farewell to the PA program at Wolverhampton University, we celebrate the ongoing collaborations with various institutions, leading to new projects and partnerships. Noteworthy among these is our involvement with Dr Gareth Nye at Chester University, who teaches Bio-med students, and our support for the new Medical School at Chester, actively recruiting students for their MBChB course.

Our commitment to supporting diverse medical education extends to specialized areas, such as Obs and Gynae and Male Intimate Examinations. A recent project at Hastings House GP practice showcased our expertise, benefiting Paramedics, Pharmacists, and a Physician Associate keen on keeping their skills up to date.

A special mention goes to University College Birmingham, where we were invited by the Head of School Marina Kendrick to conduct a communication and consultation skills workshop with Undergraduate Nurses. The engaged participation of students made for a memorable and productive day.

As the year draws to a close, we express our gratitude to our dedicated team of ACEs, whose belief and commitment have been instrumental in Meducate Academy’s success. We extend our thanks to the students who have actively contributed to refining our skills and to our valued customers, both new and old.

As we look forward to the new year, we anticipate exciting developments, including undisclosed projects set to impact Pharmacy in 2024. Stay tuned for more information in January 2024, and here’s to another year of success and growth. Wishing you all a Happy New Year, and let’s do it again in 2024!

If you’re a Clinical Lead and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., we would love to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Meducate Academy’s Exciting Collaboration with Cliniskills: Transforming Healthcare Training

Meducate Academy at The University of Chester Medical School

Meducate Academy is excited to announce its transformative collaboration with Cliniskills, a leading healthcare training company dedicated to equipping healthcare providers with cutting-edge skills in response to the evolving healthcare landscape. Recognizing the challenge of balancing work and skill development, Cliniskills offers flexible, tailored training solutions rooted in real-world expertise. Their initiative for community pharmacists, developed in partnership with the NHS, empowers them with critical diagnostic skills. In this partnership, Meducate Academy supplies Associate Clinical Educators to support Cliniskills’ training efforts, aiming to enhance healthcare training programs’ effectiveness and drive positive outcomes. Together, they are committed to shaping the future of healthcare education and empowering professionals in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.

As summer bids farewell, we are delighted to unveil a significant development from Meducate Academy that promises to shape the future of healthcare training. We are thrilled to announce our latest collaboration with Cliniskills, a distinguished healthcare training company that stands at the forefront of adapting to the ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

In an era where healthcare roles and demands are in constant flux, Cliniskills remains steadfast in its mission to empower healthcare providers and practitioners with cutting-edge training programs. These programs are meticulously designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to proactively respond to the dynamic healthcare environment.

The Challenge of Balancing Work and Skill Development

Cliniskills recognizes the delicate balancing act that healthcare professionals face. They must juggle demanding workloads with the imperative need for continuous skill development. To address this challenge, Cliniskills offers flexible and best-practice training solutions that allow individuals to enhance their expertise while operating in diverse, multi-disciplinary settings.

Expertise Rooted in Real-world Experience

What sets Cliniskills apart is its team of healthcare professionals and experts in healthcare higher education. Their wealth of firsthand experience translates into a deep understanding of the transformative potential of targeted development in both the public and private healthcare sectors.

Tailored Training for Transformative Outcomes

One of Cliniskills’ key strengths is its ability to collaborate closely with organizations to tailor training and development programs to align with their specific workforce transformation goals. Their comprehensive offerings encompass online learning, hands-on training, or a combination of both, all designed to meet the unique requirements of each organization. Additionally, they are equipped to provide face-to-face training at convenient times and locations, ensuring they cater to organizational needs effectively.

Parbir Jagpal BEM
Parbir Jagpal BEM Director of Operations at Cliniskills

A Noteworthy Initiative: Transforming Community Pharmacy

One noteworthy initiative by Cliniskills is their fully funded clinical examination skills training resource, developed in collaboration with the NHS and specifically tailored for community pharmacists. Recognizing the pivotal role of community pharmacists in managing acute and long-term conditions, Cliniskills equips them with essential skills. These skills enable pharmacists to assess patients, diagnose common and high-risk conditions, and identify high-risk red-flag cases. This training supports pharmacists during a period of exciting workforce transformation, enabling them to deliver the clinical services that community pharmacies will increasingly provide.

Meducate Academy’s Contribution

In this groundbreaking partnership, Meducate Academy’s role is to supply the highest quality Associate Clinical Educators to support Cliniskills’ endeavours with hi-fidelity simulation and teaching. This collaboration aims to enhance the effectiveness of healthcare training programs and drive positive outcomes for both individual practitioners and the healthcare organizations they serve.

As summer fades away, the future of healthcare training shines brighter than ever, thanks to the synergy between Meducate Academy and Cliniskills. Together, we are committed to empowering healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. Stay tuned for more updates as we embark on this transformative journey to shape the future of healthcare education.

If you’re a Pharmacy Clinical Lead and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., we would love to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Adapt, Improvise, Excel: How ACEs Deliver Effective Educational Content

University of Newcastle Physician Associate 2nd year cohort
We were invited to teach MSK skills to University of Newcastle Physician Associate 2nd year cohort in preparation for their upcoming OSCEs.

Being an Associate Clinical Educator (ACE) is a rewarding and dynamic role that contributes to the education and growth of future healthcare professionals. The ACEs receive immense fulfilment from positive student feedback and witnessing their progress. The job brings excitement and unpredictability, requiring adaptability and improvisation to deliver effective educational content. ACEs gain valuable experience from working with diverse clinicians, undergo regular training and evaluation to stay updated, and ensure the quality of education. Recently, at Newcastle University Medical School, a four-person ACE team provided comprehensive MSK examination training and extended support in other areas of healthcare education. The students appreciated learning from experienced ACEs and requested guidance on various exams. Despite time constraints, consultation skills were briefly covered, and a group Q&A session concluded the day. Gratitude was expressed to the university staff for their collaboration in creating a valuable learning environment.

Experienced Associate Clinical Educator (ACE), Mark Reynolds, collaborates with experienced clinicians from the FRCS (Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons) at the prestigious Royal Orthopaedic Hospital
Experienced Associate Clinical Educator (ACE), Mark Reynolds, collaborates with experienced clinicians from the FRCS at the prestigious Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

Working as an Associate Clinical Educator (ACE) is an incredibly fulfilling and stimulating role. ACEs play a vital role in the education and development of future healthcare professionals, and the rewards of this position are often experienced on a personal and professional level. The positive feedback received from students after a job well done is a source of immense fulfilment. Knowing that your efforts have contributed to their growth and progress is a testament to the significance of the ACE role.

One aspect that makes this role exciting is the unpredictability it brings. The subject matter can change at a moment’s notice, from cranial nerves to a cardio examination with a roleplay element added spontaneously. These unexpected twists and turns add an element of excitement and keep the role fresh and invigorating. As ACEs, it is crucial to be adaptable and ready to improvise, as this flexibility ensures the effective delivery of educational content.

The ability to adapt and improvise stems from the wealth of experience ACEs gain from working with clinicians from diverse backgrounds. This experience equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle various teaching scenarios. To ensure the continuous professional development of ACEs, regular training sessions and a rigorous evaluation process are implemented. These measures not only guarantee that ACEs are up to date with the latest advancements but also uphold the quality of education they provide.

Recently, at Newcastle University Medical School, we had the privilege of teaching MSK examinations to 2nd Year Physician Associate students. Musculoskeletal (MSK) is one of our specialties, and our expertise in this field is derived from training with renowned clinicians and collaborating with members of the FRCS. Our knowledge is cutting-edge, ensuring that students receive the most up-to-date information.

Experienced MSK ACE Howard takes the student through the details of a Spine examination at The University of Newcastle
At The University of Newcastle, experienced MSK Associate Clinical Educator (ACE), Howard, expertly guides students through the intricacies of a spine examination

The positive feedback we received from our previous visit to Newcastle prompted the university to invite us back for further training. While the students initially exhibited some reticence, having only practiced on each other, our four-person ACE team quickly alleviated their fears. The advantage of having a small student-to-ACE ratio allowed us to delve into details and answer their questions promptly and effectively. We covered a range of MSK examinations, including the hip, knee, shoulder, and spine. Additionally, we fulfilled requests for hand and ankle exams, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. Our instruction included all the special tests for MSK, providing continuous feedback to aid their learning. The students greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn from experienced ACEs rather than relying solely on practicing with their peers. One student even humorously remarked that it was a case of the blind leading the blind!

Surprisingly, some students were amazed at our level of knowledge of other body systems. They requested that we check their cardio, GI, and respiratory exams ahead of their upcoming OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations). As ACEs, our expertise extends beyond our specialization, allowing us to provide guidance and support in various areas of healthcare education.

Although time constraints prevented us from fully exploring consultation skills, we provided the students with a brief overview of the basics. We reassured them that their history-taking skills were up to par for their current stage of training.

As the day came to an end, we conducted a group Q&A session to address any remaining questions. We expressed our gratitude to the students for their active participation and made the journey back to Birmingham, reflecting on the meaningful interactions and knowledge shared.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Alice Fitzpatrick, Year 2 & EDI Lead for MSc Physician Associate Studies, and Emma McAllister, Degree Program Director, MSc Physician Associate Studies, for granting us the opportunity to teach at Newcastle University. Their support and collaboration have been instrumental in fostering a rich learning environment for the students.

In Other News…

Exciting times are ahead for Meducate Academy as we prepare to launch our latest offering: Pharma Pathways. This is a programme of training designed to support clinical pharmacists. In collaboration with experienced Clinical Lecturers in Clinical Pharmacy, we aim to assist pharmacists in meeting the new government directive regarding consultation and clinical skills training. Through our dedicated ACEs and Medical Roleplayers, who possess decades of experience working with healthcare professionals such as Physician Associates and Nurses, we are committed to delivering comprehensive support.

Currently, Meducate Academy supplies ACEs and Medical Roleplayers to pharmacy programs at both the University of Wolverhampton and Birmingham, further expanding our reach and impact in the field of healthcare education. Pharma Pathways has been created to offer educators access to ACEs and Medical Roleplayers.

In conclusion, the role of an Associate Clinical Educator is undeniably fulfilling, interesting, and exciting. It provides opportunities for personal growth and professional development while positively influencing the education and future careers of aspiring healthcare professionals.

 

If you’re a Pharmacy Clinical Lead and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., we would love to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850

Mastering The Skill of Listening: A Key To Patient-Centred Care

Image showing Meducate Academy teaching consultation skills to a group of pharmacists during their Clinical Pharmaceutical Team Meeting.
Meducate Academy Teaching Consultation Skills to Pharmacists at their Clinical Pharmaceutical Team Meeting

In this article, we explore the role of ACEs in healthcare education and the importance of effective communication skills. We discuss the impact of active listening on building rapport with patients and avoiding miscommunication. Drawing insights from experienced pharmacists, we address the challenges of difficult conversations in healthcare. We also highlight the wisdom of Plutarch and the practicality of Anatol Rapoport’s rules for navigating such conversations. By emphasizing the collaborative nature of communication and its life-saving potential, we stress the significance of effective listening skills. ACEs and healthcare professionals are encouraged to prioritize listening as a foundational skill and utilize tools like the Rappoport Rules for improved communication.

Image of Agenda of Pharmaceutical Team Meeting at Dudley College of Technology
Pharmaceutical Team Meeting at Dudley College of Technology Agenda featuring Meducate Academy

How often do you hear what someone is saying but fail to truly listen? How frequently do you find yourself waiting for the person to finish speaking so that you can assert your own thoughts, often with a prepared speech centered around your own agenda, without genuinely addressing the original question? These are the subjects I intend to explore in my writing this month.

As ACEs (Associate Clinical Educators), it is necessary and important that we provide accurate feedback on students’ technical competencies. The feedback should, of course, be relevant and precise, enabling the students to develop as safe practitioners. Another essential aspect of our role is to assist students in developing effective communication tools to establish rapport and gain the trust of simulated patients. This becomes particularly relevant when students embark on their journey to master the art of effective history-taking, marking their initial exploration of the realm of effective communication.

I always emphasize to students that the essence of communication lies in the response one receives. This is crucial because failing to genuinely listen to the patient can result in miscommunication. Each party brings their own agenda to the conversation – the clinician and the patient have their respective goals. It is no wonder that communication can be seen as something of a dark art. Therefore, the role of the ACE is to carefully guide the students through the process.

Always remember that a conversation is a partnership. It is a collaborative process, led by the patients’ ideas, concerns, and expectations, with the clinician and the patient working together.

This topic emerged during a recent Clinical Pharmaceutical Team Meeting held at Dudley College, where my colleague Mark Reynolds and I were invited to speak about Enhancing Consultation Skills to a group of highly experienced Pharmacists. In addition to discussing generic communication skills, we presented a couple of scenarios illustrating poor and effective communication and engaged in discussions on the points raised.

One of the key themes that emerged from the pharmacists was the common problem of patients demanding specific drugs, such as antibiotics, and how to handle such situations. Another recurrent theme was the instances of angry patients being informed about the cost of prescriptions. In other words, the main focus of the discussion revolved around managing difficult conversations.

Effectively navigating a difficult conversation requires active listening, and most of the attendees were eager to hear our thoughts on this matter. Like any skill, it demands constant practice and simply paying attention to the conversation. However, finding the time to listen is challenging in today’s busy pharmacy or GP surgery, where restrictions are imposed on the duration of patient interactions. Nonetheless, learning this skill is vital.

In order to build rapport and gather important information, we allow the patient to talk and express their needs. This is of utmost importance.

Greek philosopher Plutarch, Greek philosopher philosopher, writer, magistrate and priest
Plutarch, Greek philosopher, writer, magistrate, and priest who lived during AD 46, extensively wrote about the subject of listening

Plutarch, the philosopher, writer, magistrate, and priest who lived during AD 46, extensively wrote about the subject of listening. It might be useful to briefly examine his views, as expressed in one of his letters to a young man about to embark on his studies. He discusses different types of listeners: the Lazy Listener, the Scornful Listener, the Excited Listener, and the overly confident listener.

The lazy listener is someone who only listens for information that interests them and shows no interest in what the speaker is saying. They wait for their turn to expand on their own interests, paying little attention to the speaker’s main topic of conversation. The scornful listener is judgmental of alternative ideas or beliefs, as they adhere strictly to their own set of values and beliefs. Plutarch notes that judgment is, in fact, a distraction of the mind, and these types of listeners tend to develop a distorted view of what is actually being said. It is better to have an open mind, he says – a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree. We must not let the speaker’s performance distract us from paying attention. Otherwise, we will quickly forget our purpose and potentially miss valuable information. Finally, Plutarch talks about the Overconfident Listener, who assumes they know what the speaker means right from the start and fails to listen for subtle, sometimes hidden, cues in the conversation. When this happens, it is important to step back and actively listen.

Even Plutarch recognized that a conversation is a collaborative process. The responsibility for the outcome of a conversation rests with the listener and with healthcare professionals. Achieving the correct outcome is crucial, and listening can literally save lives.

Throughout my experience as an actor, comedian, corporate trainer, NLP trainer, and associate clinical educator, I have employed various methods to teach communication skills to students in different fields of study. From armed response teams to salespeople, from actors to presenters, and more recently to physician associates, pharmacists, nurses, and young doctors, the process remains the same: learning to listen first and foremost.

At the recent Team Meeting in Dudley, I extensively discussed the use of Rapoport Rules as a valuable tool for communication skills. I encountered these rules a few years ago and have always wondered why they are not more widely known. Anatol Rapoport, a Russian-born American game theorist, developed a set of rules for handling difficult conversations:

  • Clearly re-express your conversation partner’s position, defining your understanding of what they want. This ensures clarity in the conversation and prevents you from straying off course with your own assumptions.
  • List points of agreement with your partner to develop rapport further.
  • Always mention something you have learned from the person you are talking with, further building agreement.
  • Only then can you proceed to disagree or compromise with the person. You can see how these rules can be helpful when patients hold fixed beliefs about vaccines, antibiotic use, or various other treatment-related ideas.

I encourage you to follow and practice these steps each time you engage in a difficult conversation. If you are an ACE, please be aware of these tools and pass these skills on to students during their history-taking sessions. The positive impact will be appreciated by everyone.

Next month, I will be talking about our work with Newcastle University PA program teaching musculoskeletal (MSK) examinations.

 

If you’re a Pharmacy Clinical Lead and wish to discuss working with Meducate Academy Ltd., we would love to give you a demonstration and a workshop at your institution.

Please contact: bobspour@meducateacademy.com or on 07870 611850