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

Mastering Clinical Skills: Meducate Academy’s Thriving Cliniskills Partnership

The Meducate Academy team at the 2 Day Cliniskills event for community pharmacists
The Meducate Academy team line up during the 2-Day Cliniskills event dedicated to community pharmacists

In September, Meducate Academy saw a surge in activity, notably due to our successful partnership with Cliniskills and participation in The Pharmacy Show. Out Associate Clinical Educators focused on teaching ENT and cardiovascular examinations to community pharmacists and worked with undergraduates at the University of Birmingham. Upcoming events include workshops at The Pharmacy Show, a collaborative book project, and training at Wolverhampton University.

As September unfolded, it brought with it an unexpected surge of activity at Meducate Academy. This bustling month was driven by the unique circumstances it presented, with a significant portion of our students either diving into their clinical placements or savouring the last moments of their summer break.

Partnering with Cliniskills

A major contributor to our busy schedule was our thriving partnership with Cliniskills. This collaboration came with a multitude of responsibilities, from booking the right ACEs to meticulously planning our teaching sessions. Each session demanded precision and proficiency, requiring our team to consistently deliver at the highest level.

Our Mission: Equipping Future Healthcare Professionals

Our mission was clear: to equip these students with the skills and knowledge they needed to excel in their roles, particularly in conducting ENT and cardiovascular examinations for community pharmacists. Our students hailed from diverse backgrounds, with varying levels of experience. Some were seasoned professionals seeking a refresher, while others were eager newcomers, offering us a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact.

It was in these foundational lessons that we truly excelled. Witnessing the transformation of students from different walks of life, some with extensive experience and others just starting their journey was an incredibly fulfilling experience. We remained acutely aware of the unique challenges our students faced and the ever-evolving demands of the healthcare industry.

A Commitment to Excellence

As we navigated the intricacies of teaching, it became evident that our commitment to excellence resonated with our students. The dedication of our team, combined with the determination of the students and pharmacists, bore testament to the success of our programs. Together, we ventured into a new era of healthcare education, fully aware of our role in shaping the future of healthcare professionals.

Expanding Horizons: Teaching Beyond Boundaries

Vicky, Bob, Mark, and Howard of Meducate Academy posing for a photo after a productive day of training undergraduate pharmacists at The University of Birmingham.
Vicky, Bob, Mark and Howard of Meducate Academy after a productive day of training at The University of Birmingham.

Simultaneously, we eagerly anticipated future sessions in Bristol, Slough, and Manchester as the months progressed. These upcoming sessions also offered an opportunity to engage with third-year undergraduate pharmacy students. Their task of rapidly honing consultation and examination skills, as they prepare to become independent prescribers, underscored the importance of our work.

The intensity of our recent sessions was complemented by the joy we derived from working with these ambitious students. The positive feedback we received fueled our enthusiasm for deeper engagements in clinical skills during future meetings.

Showcasing Our Expertise at The Pharmacy Show

As September transitioned into October, we found ourselves preparing for a prominent event – our workshops at The Pharmacy Show hosted at the NEC. This platform allowed us to demonstrate our expertise in teaching concentration skills and clinical skills to the attending delegates. With three one-hour sessions planned each day, we aimed to cater to the specific needs and interests of our audience.

Our workshops, which explore both poor and effective consultations, had previously left a lasting impression at Dudley College, often accompanied by smiles. Mark Reynolds’ playful portrayal of an inept pharmacist added a touch of humour to our educational sessions. For more details about The Pharmacy Show event click here to find out more information and to book your place. We genuinely hope to meet many of you in person to discuss not only these topics but also the book I’m currently co-authoring.

A Collaborative Book Project

Speaking of the book, I’m thrilled to share the exciting news. My colleague, friend, and former student, Teresa Dowsing, has joined me as a co-author. Theresa is lending her expertise to the clinical aspects of our book, which offers behind-the-scenes insights into the OSCE examinations. We believe this addition will significantly benefit students in enhancing their skill sets. See next month’s blog post to read and watch the video of Teresa Dowsing in conversation with Meducate Academy.

Upcoming Training Event at Wolverhampton University

Lastly, on the 21st of October, we have another training event on the horizon. This time, we’ll be providing training for new ACES at Wolverhampton University. It promises to be another enriching experience in our journey of imparting valuable clinical skills and knowledge.

Overcoming Challenges: Looking Forward

Regrettably, our previous event was derailed by an unforeseen railway strike, causing disappointment for both our team and the eager participants. However, we’re approaching this upcoming event with optimism, hoping for smoother logistics and an uninterrupted learning experience.

For this occasion, we’ve designed an intimate setting, ensuring a select group will have the privilege of being instructed by our most seasoned Associate Clinical Educators and a highly qualified clinician who will enrich the learning process. This unique opportunity invites medical role players to enhance their skill sets and expand their portfolios.

If you’re a medical role player eager to bolster your experience and broaden your horizons, we warmly invite you to get in touch with us and secure your spot on the course. Learning can work up an appetite, so rest assured, we have you covered. Participants will be treated to complimentary lunch and refreshments throughout the day, ensuring not only a day of education but also a delightful culinary experience. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to grow your skills while enjoying a nourishing meal in a supportive learning environment.

 

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 Summer Adventures: Collaborations and Preparations

Clinical examiners and Associate Clinical Educators working together on a Chester University Physician Associate OSCEs
Clinical examiners and Associate Clinical Educators working together on a Chester University Physician Associate OSCEs

A Sneak Peek into Meducate Academy’s Busy Summer Break

Summer is often a season of relaxation and leisure, but for Meducate Academy, the months of July and August are far from quiet. While the classrooms may be emptier, our commitment to excellence in medical education continues. As we take a brief hiatus from our regular teaching schedule, we find ourselves immersed in a whirlwind of collaborations and preparations that promise exciting developments for the upcoming academic term.

Teaching and Preparations in Progress

While the halls of Meducate Academy might echo with fewer footsteps during these months, they are far from silent. Our dedicated team is hard at work, ensuring that we are well-prepared for the academic year ahead. A few select sessions are still being conducted, particularly focusing on teaching Physician Associates and getting ready for the challenges that the new term will bring.

Recently, we wrapped up an intensive series of teaching sessions for the Physician Associate program at Chester University. To put our students’ skills to the test, we organized two days of Mock OSCEs. The results of these exams were encouraging, though we must maintain confidentiality regarding the specific outcomes. What we can reveal is the dedication of our team and the remarkable efforts put forth by our Associate Clinical Educators who truly shone during these two crucial days.

Forging New Alliances and Celebrating Success Stories

The quieter moments of summer provide us with the perfect opportunity to extend our reach and create new partnerships. This year has seen the birth of some truly remarkable collaborations that are set to take Meducate Academy to new heights. While confidentiality prevents us from naming all our partners, we’re thrilled to share a glimpse of the exciting ventures that lie ahead.

One of our most noteworthy partnerships is with Cliniskills, a group of healthcare professionals and experts in healthcare higher education. Drawing from their firsthand experiences in patient care, Cliniskills understands the challenges of upskilling while managing the demands of a clinical profession. They are dedicated to transforming healthcare through targeted development that adapts to evolving service needs in both the public and private sectors. As a part of their mission, they offer comprehensive, national-scale training that delivers lasting impact.

We’re honoured that Cliniskills has placed its trust in us to assist in delivering some of this training as Associate Clinical Educators and Medical Roleplayers. Our collaboration will kick off with courses starting in September in Birmingham, followed by sessions in Slough, Bristol, and Manchester. This news is incredibly exciting for us, and it stands as a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team of ACEs.

Chester University ACEs and examiners working together on day 2 of the Physician Associate OSCEs
Chester University ACEs and examiners working together on day 2 of the Physician Associate OSCEs

A Spotlight on Consultation and Clinical Skills Workshops

And, as if that weren’t enough excitement, we’ve also been invited to contribute our expertise to The Pharmacy Show. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our proficiency in consultation and clinical skills through interactive workshops. The chance to engage with a diverse audience of healthcare professionals is a testament to the reputation we’ve built and the knowledge we’ve amassed over the years.

Exciting Workshops at The Pharmacy Show: Empowering Pharmacists

At The Pharmacy Show, we’re excited to present three immersive workshops, each lasting 45 to 60 minutes, on both event days. Our main focus is on addressing challenges that Pharmacists commonly encounter when dealing with demanding patients. The workshop sessions are structured as follows:

  1. Introduction to Meducate Academy and Speakers: Get introduced to the purpose of Meducate Academy and a brief overview of the speakers.
  2. Unveiling the Art of Communication: Explore the fundamental aspects of effective communication in healthcare settings.
  3. Establishing and Nurturing Rapport in Difficult Conversations: Dive into the skill of building and maintaining rapport during challenging discussions.
  4. Mastering Active Listening Techniques: Acquire valuable techniques for active listening, and enhancing patient interactions.
  5. Deciphering the Anatomy of a Poor Consultation (Scenario): Engage in a scenario-based analysis of elements contributing to an unfavourable consultation
  6. Insights from Associate Clinical Educators and Participants: Benefit from insights shared by Associate Clinical Educators and fellow attendees.
  7. Showcasing a Model Consultation: Witness a demonstration of a successful consultation that embodies best practices.
  8. Interactive Question and Answer Session: Engage interactively to seek clarifications and interact with our experts.

 

Meducate Academy’s workshops at The Pharmacy Show promise to empower Pharmacists with actionable skills and insights, enabling them to adeptly navigate challenging patient interactions. This exceptional opportunity equips you to enhance your communication prowess and enrich patient care. Join us in our endeavour to transform healthcare interactions for the better.

Final Thoughts

As the summer sun warms the days, Meducate Academy remains steadfast in its commitment to excellence. The seemingly quiet months of July and August are, in reality, a hive of activity as we collaborate with exceptional partners, prepare for the new academic term, and celebrate the successes that continue to fuel our passion for medical education. The journey ahead is filled with promise, and we can’t wait to share all that we’ve learned and accomplished with our students, partners, and the entire medical community. Stay tuned for more updates as we embark on this exciting chapter of growth and discovery!

 

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

The Role of Independent Prescribing Course in Enhancing Healthcare Professionals’ Skills

PA students engaging with the interaction between ACEs and Clinicians at Chester University

The Independent Prescribing Course is an essential component of healthcare education, equipping professionals with the skills and knowledge required to prescribe medication safely and effectively. The course covers clinical skills, legal and ethical considerations, and patient care, enhancing the quality of healthcare services provided to patients. This article highlights the significant role of the Independent Prescribing Course in empowering healthcare professionals to take on greater responsibilities in their practice. By preparing professionals to prescribe with confidence, the course contributes to modern healthcare education and practice.

Working as an ACE offers numerous opportunities to collaborate with a diverse group of healthcare professionals, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of this profession, in addition to witnessing students’ success in their exams and progression into becoming skilled clinicians. Although our primary focus has been on Physician Associates, we have recently been granted the privilege of working with Pharmacists and prospective international students who seek admission to the University of Chester’s new MbChb Course.

Our founder, Bob, has been serving as a visiting lecturer at the University of Chester for the past two years and has been entrusted with the responsibility of assisting in the recruitment process of new international medical students. Bob’s duties involve working alongside a medical role-player to evaluate candidates’ ability to communicate effectively with patients who have underlying medical issues. The situation presented to the candidates was not a medical diagnosis but rather a scenario that required them to showcase their problem-solving and rapport-building skills. This task can be challenging even for native English speakers, let alone for those with English as a second language. The interviews were conducted online, which posed a different set of challenges. We are pleased to note that our contribution has been highly appreciated, and the interviews are scheduled to continue for the next two months.

We have also been provided with an opportunity to collaborate with the University of Wolverhampton’s Pharmacy Program, wherein we have supplied ACEs to their current curriculum. Working alongside Pharmacists has been a different kind of challenge as they are expected to have a fundamental understanding of some clinical skills in addition to their ability to prescribe the appropriate medication to patients. Our collaboration with the Clinical Lead, Teresa Dowsing, of the current PA Program and the teaching staff of the Wolverhampton Pharmacy Course has been instrumental in achieving success in this initiative.

We have also been asked to help students prepare for the Independent Prescribing Course, which is another exciting development for us.

Meducate Academy Associated Clinical Educators Greg and Bob working together with clinicians make a formidable teamThe Independent Prescribing Course is a medical education program designed to equip healthcare professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to prescribe medication independently. This course is typically intended for healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists and optometrists who are required to prescribe medication as part of their professional responsibilities.

The Independent Prescribing Course aims to enhance the healthcare professional’s ability to prescribe safely, effectively, and appropriately within their clinical competence. This includes the ability to identify clinical signs and symptoms, diagnose medical conditions, and determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

The course also covers aspects related to the legal and ethical aspects of prescribing medication, such as informed consent, record-keeping, and confidentiality. Upon completing the course, healthcare professionals are eligible to register with the appropriate regulatory body, such as the General Pharmaceutical Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council, as independent prescribers.

The Independent Prescribing Course plays a crucial role in medical education by equipping healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge to prescribe medication safely and effectively. This enhances the quality of care provided to patients and enables healthcare professionals to take on greater responsibilities in their practice, contributing to the delivery of high-quality healthcare services.

Despite these recent developments, we also continue to remain committed to working with Physician Associate students at both Chester and Wolverhampton on an ongoing basis.

If you are a Medical Roleplayer and would like to take your skill set to the next level sign up for our training courses in 2023. Our next one is on March 25th and it’s free! Give Bob a call on 07870 611850 if you would like more details or want to ask anything about our courses.

An ACE™ Is Not a Simulated Patient, But A Simulated Patient On Steroids!

1st Year Physician Associate Students and Associate Clinical Educators at Wolverhampton University

Recently my attention was drawn to an article, ‘It’s Not An Acting Job … Don’t Underestimate What A Simulated Patient Does”: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Perspectives of Simulated Patients in Health Professions Education”, which was submitted to the journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare about Simulated Patients (SP).

The article, whilst interesting and enlightening, discusses the work of the ‘normal’ SP, and shows how valuable their contribution is to medical education. However the title sums up the fact that an SP is more than just an actor who learns their lines and portrays a character. Any role player will be quick to alert you to the fact that, unlike actors, the SP has to give feedback on the communications skills of the student clinician. This is beyond what we expect an actor to be capable of doing.

A good SP can improvise around a common theme, for example breaking bad news. However each student will approach this in a variety of different ways and this is based on their communication style. Some may be hesitant to break the bad news, whilst others may be more exp-licit with their communication. It is the job of the SP to respond to the different approaches that students have effectively, and then give feedback on what the student did well and how they can improve their communication for the benefit of the ‘patient’.

Some students will build rapport readily and easily whilst others need feedback on how to do this more effectively. Non-verbal language also plays its part in communication as we have discussed in a previous post. However, if the SP is presenting with a specific physical condition i.e. central chest pains, the student will respond by performing an examination, for example ‘cardio-vascular’. An SP is unable to give feedback on this part of the process. This is where to Associate Clinical Educator (ACE™) excels.

What the article previously mentioned didn’t cover (and I wouldn’t expect it to) was how an ACE™ can take the interaction to the next level.

An ACE™ is not a Simulated Patient, he’s a simulated patient on steroids! On many occasions I have spoken to clinicians who mistake what we do for medical roleplay and/or that we are simply simulated patients. This is simply not the case.

An ACE™, whilst giving feedback on the communication, will also be able to quickly inform the student whether of not the examination itself is being performed correctly. For example, below is a typical respiratory examination as expected to be performed by a first year physician associate student:

    • Introduction using full name and role
    • Confirms patient’s full name and DOB
    • Explains examination and takes informed consent for examination.
    • Asks if they want a chaperone
    • Washes/disinfects hands
    • Exposes patient appropriately and maintains dignity
    • Inspects the patient’s chest (looking for scars, asymmetry, both axillary area)
    • Positions patient on the couch at 45 degree angle and asks if they have any pain anywhere
    • Inspects the patient’s hands looking for peripheral cyanosis, clubbing, tar staining, CO2 flap
    • Checks patient’s pulse (radial/brachial) checks for rate (90 bpm), rhythm and character
    • Counts respiratory rate (offers to do for one minute: 18/min)
    • Checks patients face for pursed lip breathing, central cyanosis, pale conjunctiva etc.
    • Palpates patient’s chest checking for chest expansion and apex beat
    • Percusses the chest (top middle bottom, axillar, compares left and right)
    • Auscultates the chest (top middle and bottom and both axillar)
    • Checks tactile vocal fremitus or vocal resonance
    • Checks for sacral oedema, feet and legs (for swelling and tenderness)
    • Checks for lymphadenopathy (supraclavicular, cervical, submandibular, etc) from behind
    • Concludes examination, offers to help patient dress
    • Summarises findings in a logical systematic manner (including important negatives)
    • Gives differential diagnosis

Senior Associate Clinical Educator teaching session at Wolverhampton universityThe role of the ACE™ therefore is to give feedback on all of the above. This will ensure that the student performs the examination correctly,to the standard of the current OSCE curriculum and demonstrates safe practice. As you can see the function of the ACE™ far exceeds that of a simulated patient or role player.

This level of expertise requires training and a high degree of commitment from the ACE™ and with that in mind, Meducate Academy continues to train and support new and experienced ACEs whilst they work with us. Alongside that, the various institutions and academics we work with will continue guide and assist us in producing the best outcomes for their students. Vitally important when you consider the role OSCEs play in the students development and assessment.

Training is ongoing and we are still in negotiation with academic institutions to ratify our position in the industry through a strict accreditation process. This will ensure that the quality of our ACEs is of the highest standard and meets the requirements of any academic institution.

 

If you are a Clinical Educator and would like to take advantage of using ACEs as part of your clinical teaching, book now for a free consultation. Contact us via the form below or even give us a call on 07870611850. Thanks again for reading this post.

The Importance Of Simulation In Medical Education

Professor Jim Parle discusses the use of Associate Clinical Educators at the online conference

Professor Parle was our keynote speaker at the conference and it was an honour to have him join us. What follows is an abridged version of the talk. If you want to view the complete talk it is available in the video above.

“I’ve been involved with the ACE process for something like 15-18 years or so. I am now a retired professor at the University of Birmingham and I’ve been using ACEs and similar kinds of approaches to education for a long time. What I’m going to do today is to go straight into talking about what ACEs are and why we introduced them into the Physician Associate Course and what sparked my interest in education generally.

“We used ACEs on the PA programme for probably at least 15 years if not longer, so for today’s conference I would like to spend more time talking about simulation generally. Also, would like to talk about why we need simulation and why I think we need more simulation and why I think we need high fidelity simulation by which I mean using real human beings, not computers or robots!

“Obviously there’s an ethical issue about performing intimate or any kind of physical examination on actual patients. When I was a student, which is quite a long time ago, we used to examine patients without consent. The patient wasn’t really given an opportunity to say no.

“Obviously you should never do this kind of thing and fortunately, times have changed. I remember my first female patient examination, in which I was embarrassed. She was embarrassed, and I was probably incompetent. I don’t think I hurt the patient, but I didn’t know what I was doing. Looking back now, it was a ridiculous way to learn to carry out examinations. That is one reason we need to think about simulation.

“There’s also the point that medical students need repeated practise and repeated, focused and relevant feedback. You don’t really get that from a patient and when you examine a patient, they rarely know whether you’re doing a good job. We don’t really give them a voice, so we need to have or recruit a patient or patient substitute who is skilled in that area.

“There’s also the issue that students arrive with different levels of skill. You therefore need somebody who can work at the level the student is at. We can’t expect a real patient to do that, as they’ve got their own problems and their own things to focus on when in a consultation. An ACE, however, can do that and more, because we have trained them to be able to show certain kinds of pathology or abnormalities.

“I’ll give you an example: A patient comes off his or her bike and injures their chest. Maybe a couple of fractured ribs and difficulty breathing. If you were to examine an actual patient, they will be in a great deal of pain. They will have tenderness around the area and having restricted breathing. It would be unethical to subject an actual patient to multiple examinations by new students. With an ACE, that problem won’t occur. Some of our ACEs can even demonstrate asymmetric breathing and can obviously be examined throughout the day by many students with no ill effects.

“We can therefore reproduce an extremely convincing simulation with an actual person who the student has to interact with just like an actual patient, but they’re not putting a patient through all that kind of discomfort.

“I just want to add the importance of recognising what is also normal and an ACE can present both sides of this situation. Consider the previous example of asymmetric breathing. The ACE can easily demonstrate what is normal, then quickly change to abnormal. I can only assert that it’s much easier to learn something that’s abnormal when you have something normal to compare it with and, obviously, vice versa. The ACE  can do this. Is able to switch asymmetric breathing too symmetrical breathing and back again so the student can see the difference and we as human beings are good at spotting differences but not so good at spotting absolute values. On a similar but not quite the same theme, I am concerned that if we learn something incorrectly, then it becomes difficult to unlearn it.

“I think it’s really important when students are learning physical examination skills that they compare normal with abnormal there and then. This means that they get immediate feedback, and which they don’t necessarily get with mannequins.

“Because of austerity and the current COVID crisis, students are not able to wander as freely around the wards interacting with patients as they did during my time as a student. So pressure on clinical learning environments and the clinicians who might teach us has become more and more restricted. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for students, whether medical, physician associates or pharmacists, and I’m sure it’s true of other clinical professions that an ACE could fulfill that role.

“An ACE is somebody who’s been trained to use their body and their psyche in educating clinicians by responding appropriately when asked to do something by a student. An ACE, as well as being a responsive patient, can also play a naïve patient, so if simple instructions are not given, the ACE will respond appropriately. If the student wants to take a blood pressure, for example, then the ACE knows exactly how this should be done. An ACE can replicate being a patient who has never had it done and do a variety of things that will affect the blood pressure reading. The ACE can then teach the student how to do it correctly. The student can see the blood pressure go up and down when a patient moves their arm or flexes their muscles. They will see the blood pressure go up and down. The student then gets the reason for doing it correctly and shows that they can do it correctly. This is immediate feedback and students love feedback. They’re always asking for more feedback! If it applies to the individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, they then improve straight away.

“So in conclusion I think I would say that what ACEs bring to the interaction is that they can role play, they can show abnormalities including assessments, they can understand what errors students make or errors patients make and then feedback to the students.

“The most important thing I want you to remember from what I’ve said is it’s sometimes good to take the clinician out of the room when the ACE is working. You do not want a clinician in there. If you have a clinician in with the ACE there, they’ll inevitably get into discussions about various pathologies and what a particular system does in terms of it’s function.

“The ACE is there to work as a tool to aid in the learning of the systems exams. We can do the theory at another session. Making full use of the ACE is vital and students’ feedback always shows they learn the examination processes quicker when the academic leaves the room!”

Click here to watch Professor Jim Parle talking about the value of using ACEs as simulated patients on the ACE National Conference 

Report & Video Of Ace National Online Conference 2021

The Meducate ACE National Conference attracted some great speakers
The Meducate Academy online AEC conference was a great success and attracted some great speakers

We began September with our first ACE National Online Conference held online using Zoom as the platform, and it went well.

We had six speakers talk about their personal experience of working with ACEs as part of their programmes of teaching. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, they talked at length about the real value of the ACE as a hi-fidelity simulated patient. As well as discussing the pros and cons of using ACEs and also about the students experience of working an ACE.

Professor Jim Parle started the proceedings with a brief chat about the development of the ACE role. Indeed, it was Jim who created the role of the ACE at the University of Birmingham many years ago alongside the ISU. Although retired, he still likes to play an active role in medical education, and it was an honour for us to have him as our keynote speaker.

Other speakers included James Ennis, the Clinical Lead at the University of Chester who also utilises ACEs in all of his teaching modules and is currently doing a PhD which takes a focussed look at the role of simulation in clinical teaching.

Director of Meducate Academy with Mark Reynolds
Founder and Director of Meducate Academy Bob behind the scenes with Mark Reynolds

Uzo Ehiogu, a teaching fellow and senior physiotherapist at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital in Birmingham, speaks about his experiences using volunteer patients and the ACE, and talks about the relative values of both when he is working with 4th year medical students from the University of Birmingham.

The current President of the Faculty of Physician Associates, Kate Straughton, shared her experiences of working alongside ACEs at The University of Birmingham on the PA Course there. She talked a little about her time as a student Physician Associate and how the ACEs helped her when she studied at Birmingham, where she is now a senior lecturer.

Peter Gorman was next up and he went into great detail about how he used ACEs to transform the way his University (Wolverhampton) coped with the demands that the Pandemic placed on the staff and the students. He also talked about the initiatives he came up with to keep the students engaged during this difficult time.

Finally, we heard from Sarah Baig, a Clinical Pharmacologist who used ACEs for the very first time at The University of Birmingham on the Independent Prescribing Course. New to the whole concept of the ACE, Sarah expressed how valuable the ACE can be compared to the run-of-the-mill role player when it comes to clinical examinations.

Host and Chairman Mark Reynolds
ACE Online Conference Host and Chairman Mark Reynolds

We want to say thanks to all the speakers and also to the delegates who attended. Some as far away as the USA! We know that some delegates would have liked to have attended but couldn’t, which is why we recorded the conference so that you may listen to the speakers at your leisure.

We are planning our next conference which is being held online again in March 2022, so look out for information on that soon.

We are also going to run an online conference in November aimed specifically at Physician Associates and how to approach physical examinations and how to prepare for the OSCEs. All Physician Associates students are invited and the conference will be free and will feature several speakers, including some of the speakers in this video. You will also have the opportunity to put your questions directly to each speaker. It will be a bit like Question Time but a lot more fun.

We will post specific dates for these events on social media and on this blog.

Watch the full video of the Ace National Online Conference

 

Working With New Associate Clinical Educators At Chester University

Associate Clinical Educators Vikki, Bob, Howard and Gregg at Chester University
Associate Clinical Educators Vikki, Bob, Howard and Gregg at Chester University

Working on the Physician Associate Programmes as an Associate Clinical Educator is always a pleasure. It’s an even better experience when you give a new ACE an opportunity to spread their wings and fly solo for a day. They are the lifeblood of the organisation, after all.

This week we gave one of our new ACEs the opportunity to work with us at the University of Chester on the PA programme. We also gave a potential ACE the opportunity to shadow another experienced ACE before being let loose on the students.

We were tasked with assisting in the teaching of Musculoskeletal Examinations: Hands, Feet, Shoulders, Knee and Hip, with the help of clinical Lecturers Jack and Alice, who had prepared the students with an earlier lecture.

I particularly enjoy the MSK sessions and as I have some significant pathologies myself. This gave the students the opportunity to work with someone with real musculoskeletal problems, and also able to give feedback to the students on their examination technique.

Teaching in the skills suite next door was Greg Hobbs, a trusted and highly experienced Associate Clinical Educators. He was being shadowed by Vikki one of our newly trained ACEs.

I was in the main skills suite with Howard, one of our new ACEs, who was now being given an opportunity to show me and the clinicians what he could do. He never let me down and his understanding of motivational interviewing techniques also allowed him to help the PA students sharpen their communication skills.

All of our Associate Clinical Educators are highly experienced communicators before they embark upon our ACE training programme. This is one of the main criteria for the role.

Clinical skills are important, but so are communication skills, and we pride ourselves on being able to give structured feedback to students about both elements of their interaction with an “expert patient”.

We always give the groups a small demonstration of the examination being taught, then we let the students get hands on with the ACEs as soon as possible, making sure everyone engages with the lesson for the day.

Happy group of Physician Associates at Chester University
Working with this happy group of Physician Associates at Chester University is always rewarding

Keeping the students engaged is another skill we are very good at. All of our ACEs have performance based training backgrounds and are trained actors, and know how to keep an audience focussed on the performance. This is an important but often missed aspect of clinical teaching and is not something that is taught to clinical educators normally.

We believe that it is important for the students to have a light hearted approach to the training. Learning should be enjoyable and not be a chore.

Next week is revision week at Chester University, so three of our experienced ACEs are up there again to help the students prepare for their Mock OSCEs, another aspect of the important role we play.

If you have enjoyed this post and want to learn more about how we can add hi-fidelity simulation with structured feedback to your students and institution, why not come online on the 4th September 2021 at 12 noon and listen to 6 clinical leads talk about their experience of working with ACEs and Meducate Academy. It’s free and you even receive a free hardback, soft touch notebook in the post!

Sign up here to join The ACE Online Conference 2021

Agenda For Meducate Academy Online ACE Conference 2021

Meducate Academy First Annual Online Conference on Simulation

 

September 4th between 12-2pm on Zoom

 

Are you involved in Medical Education?

Do you use simulation as part of your teaching?

Do you use Role Players and simulated patients during your Clinical Skills teaching sessions?

Would you like to know more about the benefits of simulation?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, why not find out more about the work of the Associate Clinical Educator (ACE).

Hi Fidelity simulation with focussed feedback from an expert patient can play an important role in improving the learning outcomes of your clinical sessions, and utilising the skills of an ACE can help you improve the performance and standard of your clinical teaching modules.

Meducate Academy are therefore pleased to announce the launch of their Free First Annual Online Conference on Simulation on Sept 4th between 12-2pm on Zoom.

You will have the chance to listen to 6 Highly experienced clinicians talk about their experience of simulation in teaching practice and how the ACE has helped their students develop important skills whilst also developing their ability to communicate more effectively with a patient.

There will be a Q & A session in the last hour, giving you the opportunity to address the speakers directly.

ACE National Conference Day

The big day is almost upon us!

Our Guest Speakers & Agenda

 

Meducate Academy’s ACE National Conference is for anyone interested in simulation and its use specifically in teaching medical professionals.

We have some great speakers lined up.

Speakers with expertise in teaching medicine using Role-players and Associate Clinical Educators, all of whom have had a personal experience of working with ACEs in a clinical teaching environment.

The agenda for the conference is as follows:

12 noon: Opening Introduction from Mark Reynolds, your host for the event.

Each speaker will talk for approximately 10-15 minutes about their chosen subject outlined briefly below.

 

 

Professor Jim Parle - Keynote Speaker

Professor Jim Parle will talk about his role in creating the Associate Clinical Educator. People based simulation has been a key theme of his academic career and he utilised ACEs widely to both teach and examine PA students during his tenure at the University of Birmingham.

This will be a short history lesson from a highly experienced clinician and clinical educator who is a former chair of the UK and Ireland Universities for PA education.

Jim believes strongly that if we are to make best and most moral ‘use’ of patients in clinical education, we have to do as much as we possibly can in simulation and that real people are the best hi fidelity simulators.

 

James Ennis

James is currently Clinical Director at the University of Chester and will discuss his work on the use of ACEs alongside other methods of simulation. His work is based on his experience of working with ACEs at various Universities around the country on the Physician Associate Programme that he has been heavily involved in.

Uzo Ehiogu

Currently, Uzo is a consultant in Rehabilitation and Physical preparation. He is also a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital in Birmingham. He will talk about the work he has been doing with ACEs from a Musculo-skeletal perspective with 4th Year Medical Students and how that has informed his teaching style.

Kate Straughton

Kate is a Senior Lecturer with The Physician Associate Programme at The University of Birmingham. She is also currently the President of the Faculty of Physician Associates and will talk about how working with ACEs has assisted her in the education of Physician Associates.

Peter Gorman

Pete is a Clinical Lead at the University of Wolverhampton on the Physician Associate Programme and will talk about his experiences working online with ACEs during the Pandemic, and how this has affected the students he has taught during this difficult period.

Sarah Baig

Sarah is a Pharmacist and is currently Programme Director for Independent Prescribing at the University of Birmingham. Sarah has worked in several sectors during her career, including hospital and community pharmacy, but more recently has headed up a team of pharmacists in the Local Primary Care Network. She only recently started working with ACEs and is going to talk about her personal experiences in this area.

Bob Spour

Bob Spour

Founder

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

Managing Director

The Importance Of Feedback From The Physician Associate Student

Meducate Academy - Teaching physician associates the importance of having a systematic approach to physical exams

In my last post The Associated Clinical Educators Role In Providing Feedback To Student Clinicians, I talked about the importance of feedback to the Physician Associate student and how an ACE structures their feedback to ensure that they achieve the best learning outcomes.

Feedback is important to the student and is also of importance for us to receive feedback on our performance. This is a vital part of the communication interaction and helps us improve our facilitation skills.

At Meducate Academy we always want to hear what the student thinks of the session and we often ask them to appraise our performance and give us feedback, and it’s always nice when that feedback comes in the form of a testimonial that you just didn’t expect.

Last week we were lucky enough to work with the 2nd year Physician Associate cohort at The University of Chester. A very highly motivated group of students who show real promise. We were assisting clinicians in teaching MSK and general systems examinations, and the day went well.

There were six ACEs teaching all day and each group broke off into their separate rooms, observing the current Covid-19 restrictions. The students were able to take histories and then perform a physical examination. We then asked them to report their findings (if any) and give a summary and management plan.

Meducate Academy review on Instagram

I was happy that everyone performed well (including the ACEs) and we left Chester in high spirits.

Our return journey to Birmingham gave us a chance to reflect on our performance and that of the groups we were working with, and we all felt that the day had gone well. Self-reflection is an important part of the process for all Meducate Academy employees and allows us to develop our skills to the highest standard.

Within 24 hours some students had put a post up on Instagram and I felt I had to share it here on the blog.

We are currently working on writing a manual that will help students pass their OSCEs. This is in partnership with a senior clinician from The Royal Orthopedic Hospital. It’s aim is to give two different perspectives on the OSCE process. The first is from the point of view of the ACE/simulated patient and the other from the examiners perspective. We believe this is the first time anything like this has been published. As ACEs and simulated patients we have been involved in thousands of hours of OSCEs which in-turn gives us an insight into how students can improve their performance. Keep your eyes peeled for this in the near future.

Primary care for physician associates by matrix educationOn a similar note Matrix Education has produced Primary Care For Physician Associates, an excellent reference source for the training of physicians associates which is available now. One of the authors, Sofia Hiramatsu, was an old student of mine at the University of Birmingham medical school. She is now a successful PA working in London and founder of Matrix Education. I am particularly proud of her achievements in the field of medical education. At over 600 pages, this book will be a useful aid to not only help you pass your exams but also serve as as useful aide memoir when you are qualified as a Physician Associate.