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

 

Training A New Generation Of Associate Clinical Educators

Group image of ACEs at Meducate Academy's first training day
All of the ACEs at Meducate Academy’s training day in Birmingham on 19th June 2021

Meducate Academy have been working tirelessly with a view to creating more high quality ACEs, to help with the growing interest in the role we play. There seems to be a shortage of high quality ACEs and as our workload seems to be increasing, we conducted our first training programme on the weekend of the 19th June in Birmingham.

We have recently been busy over the past three weeks with the buildup to the OSCEs and of course the ongoing work with Chester and Wolverhampton Universities. It has been a successful time  for all involved and our ACEs have had their work cut out for them.

Working alongside clinicians, we have been assisting in the teaching of physician associates in:

  • MSK
  • Cranial Nerves
  • Gastro Intestinal
  • Respiratory
  • Cardio Vascular
  • Blood Pressure Measurement,
  • Peripheral Pulses and Nerves

We have also roleplayed a variety of exceptionally challenging scenarios, assisting the physician associate with a methodology of history taking, which enables them to become empathetic and safe clinicians.

We support and have continued to work closely with Matrix Education on their programme of weekend training courses.

Meducate Academy recently conducted our first training programme on the weekend of the 19th June in Birmingham.

The session was led by ACEs with the curriculum for the day previously scrutinised by two senior clinicians. Once they were satisfied with the content we gathered the delegates together in central Birmingham for the big day. There were 13 potential ACEs who had committed themselves to the training, who all turned up on time, ready for a very intense but enjoyable day.

The delegates were provided with a comprehensive manual/Aide-mémoire outlining the Gastro intestinal, Cardiovascular and Respiratory systems examinations.

It was important that we paid particular attention to the expectations of the role of the ACE, as none of the delegates had ever worked in this way before.

Medical mannequin
Whilst medical mannequins are useful, they can’t give structured feedback

It was explained that the ACE is not simply a body to practice on, but a high-quality expert patient capable of giving quality feedback about the process of the examination to the Physician Associate Student. We stressed this throughout the day because if the ACE can’t deliver this type of information correctly the student may well as have a mannequin to practice on!

The ACE is essentially an ‘expert’ patient who knows how a student should perform several of the primary systems examinations. It is our role as an ACE to guide the student from start to finish, creating a safe and effective clinician in a supportive and friendly learning environment.

The ACE does not get involved in diagnosis, or the theory behind the examination. We leave that to the clinician, who is usually present throughout the lessons. 

We are there to teach the physician associate student HOW an examination is carried out, and not WHY…

The delegates had traveled from all over the UK and the course was provided free to all those attending. It was satisfying to see how motivated and engaged they all were as we took them through basic jargon and vocabulary, peripheral pulses, blood pressure measurement and of course the main body systems.

Obviously, a day is not enough to encapsulate everything that is required of an ACE, so it was made clear that this was the first step on the road to becoming an Associate Clinical Educator.

Regarding attendance on future Meducate Academy courses (which will also be monitored by experienced clinicians and ACEs) we explained to the group that they will also be expected to shadow the more experienced ACEs before moving onto working autonomously. The new ACEs would also have an informal evaluation conducted by a clinician before being allowed to work as an ACE with Meducate Academy.

Clinical Lead Pete Gorman and Dr Banu Deniziri with newly qualified Physician Asscoiates Zaki and Asim
Clinical Lead Pete Gorman and Dr Banu Deniziri (Wolverhampton University) with newly qualified Physician Asscoiates Zaki and Asim

We want to ensure that our clients get the very best from Meducate Academy. I feel training programmes like ours go someway to developing a model that will provide the client with consistently high quality ACEs.

As has been mentioned on previous posts we are still endeavouring to get some sort of accreditation for the role of the ACE. This may take some time, but we are working on validation of the role with a couple of our university partners.

On another note, I have just had news that one of our partners, The University of Wolverhampton, has just repeated last years success at the National Exams and their last cohort achieved 100% in the written and 88% pass rate in the OSCEs.

It’s nice to know that our ACEs played a small part in that success and I would like to thank them for the hard work and dedication over the past 12 months.

Following up on this, Clinical Lead Peter Gorman has offered to take part in a podcast for Meducate Academy to talk about his innovative approach to preparing Physician Associates for their National Exams. Bookmark this blog and look out for the podcast video which will be posted in the near future.

Meducate Academy: Building Lasting Partnerships

Bache Hall, University of Chester
Bache Hall was the venue for this years Summative OSCEs for the 2nd year physician associates

What a great week we have had this week.

We started the week with a mixture of Summative OSCEs for The University of Chester and ended the week with a long day of filming MSK examination procedures for The University of Wolverhampton.

The University of Chester Physician Associate Programme, under the guidance of Course Director James Ennis, were running a series of online and in person Summative OSCEs for their 2nd year students.

We had seven ACEs working on a variety of stations. I was personally responsible for being in Chester taking two days out to work alongside senior clinicians working on Suicide Assessment and Breaking Bad news scenarios.

Preparing for a days filming with Wolverhampton University
Setting up the scene and preparing for filming at the Meducate Offices

The team of ACEs from Meducate Academy gave a great account of themselves and all received glowing testimonials from the Clinicians they were working with. We had no problems with the technology and Chester University has mastered the art of working on Microsoft Teams to great effect. Even the students commented on how well organised the two days went.

Running OSCEs is always a challenge for both Meducate Academy and the universities involved. Our extensive experience working in this fields for over ten years ensures that we always deliver the best service.

Our close working relationship with Chester University means no matter what happens we all work together as a team to ensure the students have the best possible educational experience. I always know that things are going well when individual students remember the names of our ACEs and ask for them by name. It’s also important to build relationships with the students.

Friday morning saw Meducate Academy back in our offices in Birmingham, filming a whole range of Musculoskeletal Examinations for The University of Wolverhampton in preparation for their 2021 teaching modules and the start of their new cohort in February.

Course Lead Pete Gorman and myself filmed Hip, Knee, Shoulder, Spine, Wrist and Foot exams in great detail with explanations of how they can be adapted when demonstrating them on an OSCE station. Safe practice was always the main focus of the sessions, and we made mention of the importance of accurate communication with the patient.

Clinical lead Pete Gorman prepares to preform a hip examination
Clinical lead Pete Gorman prepares to preform a hip examination on the ACE at Meducate Academy

Although the day was long it was made easier by the shared sense of humour of both Professor Kenny Langlands (Course Director), Pete Gorman (Course Clinical Lead) and the team from Meducate Academy.

We also managed to film a short interview with Kenny and Pete as to how they see their close relationship with us and how important the ACE role is with regard to the development of the student Physician Associate.

The films are now in the film edit process and I shall work on this all week.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and colleagues at both The University of Wolverhampton and the University of Chester for making 2020 a significant year for us, despite the restrictions placed on us by a series of Lockdowns.

2021 could be our best year yet.

Why not join us!

If you are a roleplayer, actor or clinician and wish to be part of the Meducate Team contact us by sending your name and email in the box below.

In Conversation With Senior Associate Clinical Educator Mark Reynolds

Interview with Associate Clinical Educator Mark Reynolds
Associate Clinical Educator Mark Reynolds giving feedback to a PA student on a recent course

A few subscribers have asked me to expand further on the role of the ACE, and this is a transcript of an interview I did with fellow ACE Mark Reynolds a few years ago. It still has relevance today and should answer any questions I have received over the past few months.

Meducate: What can you tell me about the difference between a Role Player and an ACE (Associate Clinical Educator)?

Mark: A role player is involved in clinical communication, in that they play opposite a medical student as a patient or colleague in order to to improve their learning in terms of their technique of clinical communication.  The associate clinical educator is also trained as a role player but is also trained in the body system examination so they are a hand on resource for the student to work on. The ACE then feeds back how well the student carries out that examination.

Meducate: You mentioned the term “body systems” what do you mean by that?

Mark: The basic body systems, from the point of view of the  medical world, would be  the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal systems. We are trained to give feedback on their examination technique. Techniques such as percussion, auscultation and palpation.  We  never teach pathology, that’s up to an academic tutor who normally works alongside us.

Meducate: So the academic tutor teaches the pathologies and the theory, and you are the resource? A bit like a living mannequin?

Mark: Yes, we are a living resource able to give feedback on the technique as well as our extensive knowledge of the OSCEs and what is required in those academic exams. At first Techniques like Percussion and Palpation are often a problem for new students, and we can guide them in the correct technique as well as ensuring they’re in the correct position on the body.

Meducate: And because you’re also a communications expert, you can give feedback on their ability to communicate effectively and build rapport with the patient.

Mark: Absolutely yes. Communication is a vital part of the examination process and it would be remiss of me to allow a student to carry on if they couldn’t build rapport with the patient.

Meducate: So can you describe a typical session with an ACE?

Mark: So normally a body system is picked for the day and the ACE will be working with four to six students. Sometimes the clinician may do a live demonstration using the ACE as the model, and then the students will be taken through the various pathologies they may come across on a typical patient. The students would then be left to work with the ACE, and they would then give feedback about how well they are doing. Having a “Talk the Walk” approach works very well, as we can direct the student toward the correct method right from the start. Sometimes we may run a scenario alongside the physical examination and thereby making it more realistic. With the help of the clinician present, we will also include a management plan and how to explain that to the patient in layman’s terms. We can also present various pathologies to the student such as asymmetrical breathing, antalgic gait, Shortness of breath and many more. We even have a member of the team who can create ulcers, bruising, and other physical signs using moulage.

Meducate: I have heard students say that they feel more relaxed when working with an ACE can you expand on that?

Mark: Yes, when a student has a clinician in the room they feel that they are being judged. Which of course is true. We are there as a resource, a tool, if you will to help them develop without judgement. It is true that we assess them, but not professionally. We are not qualified Medics!

 Meducate: ACEs are often used in OSCEs to great effect. How does that work?

Mark: During an OSCE it is not possible for the examiner to feel what is going on such as palpation, and that’s where we can give our feedback about how well the palpation went. Whether it was painful or too light. Because of our intensive hands on training, we know what a good technique is. This ensures that the PA is safe to practice once qualified. It should be remembered too that we have probably been involved in thousands of OSCEs, so we have an extensive experience, often much more than the examiners themselves. Examiners often remark on how extensive our knowledge is!

Meducate: Better than a real patient?

Mark: Yes, very different. A patient will not be qualified to give feedback. Of course, working with real patients is also valuable to the learning process.

Meducate: Thanks for taking time out to chat with us, Mark.