Volunteer ‘patients’ needed

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Junior doctors were surprised to find a real ‘live’ patient in the midst of the high-tech mannikins they normally examine, diagnose and treat.

Margo Biggs, a former teacher from Falkirk, is a volunteer at the Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human Factors, based at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

She recently took part in a training course designed to deal with issues which could arise on a ward round.

Margo is one of a handful of people who have offered their services, but more are urgently needed.
The centre’s education coordinator, Tanya Somerville, said: “We need people of all ages as we are trying to build up a simulated patient bank. Our volunteers have been taking part in a course to help foundation doctors cope with typical ward problems such as communication difficulties.”

To volunteer, call the centre on (01324) 567412 or email fv-uhb.scschf@nhs.net.

Bringing ‘live’ patients into training sessions has generated very positive feedback. Doctors have spoken of very accurate scenarios which have generated interesting case discussions. They have also been presented with a number of difficult situations which they say has proved extremely valuable as they haven’t had to deal with them before.

The Centre is also hoping to enlist volunteers for another course for GP training.

Ms Somerville added: “You can get irate patients and patients whose first language isn’t English so there are all sorts of challenges for doctors to deal with.

“A large number of junior doctors do a GP rotation so this would be especially beneficial to their career.”