Getting involved with patient experience as a medical student

by | Dec 6, 2019 | Patient and public involvement, Student perspectives | 0 comments

Calisha Allen is a Manchester medical student and the National Student Ambassador for the Doubleday Centre for Patient Experience. Here, she talks about the role, the Centre and the MBChB course at Manchester.

The Doubleday Centre for Patient Experience works to involve patients and the public in the training and education of doctors. It reminds us of the humanity behind the medicine and supports us in the art of care that lies at the foundation of our practice.

In a time where technology and AI are increasingly changing medicine and the role of doctors, the Centre helps doctors to develop and hone skills that are quintessentially human, as well as the ability to care for both the medical needs and the feelings of our patients and their families.

My role as a student ambassador

As the national student lead for the Centre, I have been exposed to a greater breadth of ideas, and have had the opportunity to help share these ideas with medical students at The University of Manchester.

The highlight of each year is the Doubleday Annual Lecture. The annual lecture allows students to be exposed to new ideas and influential leaders in health and social care. This is a unique experience for many medical students, giving an insight into the health and social care systems we will be working in and how the landscape is changing.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in the lecture and explore the themes through related debates chaired by Doubleday partners, but led by the students. These additional insights enrich the traditional medical school curriculum and consequentially the patient experience on the frontline.

Patient experience and the MBChB curriculum

The patient experience is formed by care and understanding, as well as effective and safe care. Patient safety plays an important role in the Manchester medical curriculum and is intertwined throughout the curriculum.

Several key areas on patient safety were identified at the GMC conference for inclusions into the medical curriculum. Manchester already meets many of these recommendations.

The current curriculum encourages an understanding of our fellow professionals’ roles through scheduled shadowing and shared learning activities with students on other healthcare courses.

Student wellbeing at Manchester

Manchester also appreciates the importance of a healthcare professional’s wellbeing and the role it plays in errors.

The medical school provides a variety of opportunities that support wellbeing, with a dedicated member of staff focusing on the student experience, university-provided counselling, and additional activities especially for medical students such yoga, tea and biscuits sessions, and – my personal favourite – dog therapy.

In the clinical years, all students complete a quality improvement project through an audit, which gives students an opportunity to better understand quality improvement science while simultaneously making a difference to a department’s clinical practice or governance, improving patient safety and quality or effectiveness of treatment.

Finally, the obligation to dissent is an important one, with systems put in place by the medical school to ease the process for medical students, as well as techniques taught in pre-clinical years to question practice where necessary.

Continuous and contemporaneous reflection is encouraged through an online portfolio providing an opportunity to also improve medical students’ practice and, ultimately, patient safety.¬†