My Other Job

She walked in. A flicker of recognition spread across her face before she smiled and asked ‘Do you get paid?’

Some people are a lot keener on getting to the point i guess.

I’m not sure if I should disclose the amount here in cyberspace but ask me and I’d answer you without much hesitation but Yes, i do get paid to be a Simulated Patient.

For the uninitiated, a Simulated Patient (SP) is a person who plays the role of a ‘patient’ outside of a real life clinical setting ie. in a teaching facility. I don’t really have a problem with my health but I’m made to assume that role for the benefit of eager medical students in order for them to get ‘Hands On’ experience (take this last bit extremely literally). Thankfully I don’t serve as an SP for History Taking sessions which would require me to assume a role in entirety and act like I have one of many possible diseases and groan in pain as students ask me about my condition. I’m an SP for Physical Examination – basically a ‘model’ for students to use in familiarising themselves with the various techniques used in examining a patient.

What I’m doing being a Simulated Patient is probably the more intriguing question that begs to be asked. I’m done with Phase 1 and I’m waiting to transfer to Edinburgh in September for the remaining 3 years of my now exceedingly long course. This isn’t the only thing that I do. In fact, being an SP is what I’m doing to pretty much help pass the time. What i’m really up to is a research project at the Research Labs – we’re working on anti-fungals but people seem that much more interesting talking to me about being an SP.

2 hours of work – being prodded by students in the oddest (nope, what you dirty mind is thinking of are extremely conventional spots. I’m talking about backs and feet and other similarly odd places) of places, listening to Clinical Skills lecturers teach topics that you covered a little less than 6 months ago.

I think it’s an amazingly good deal and the experience has been great so far. The students have been so polite and the lecturers extremely gracious. The money is an obvious (albeit not the main) incentive, but there are a couple of more compelling ones – Being able to be taught again and to revise topics as they are taught to the students. Since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit in a hospital/clinical attachment of any sort before i leave in September, I think this is a great way to keep in touch with the skills I’m supposed to be extremely well versed with by the time i leave.

The other incentive is being able to see how other students approach Clinical Skills, how they deal with patients and how they learn Medicine. It’s an interesting point of view, one that i’ve never been in before – the Third Person. From a purely anthropological point of view, it’s interesting to watch. I’ll probably make some interesting observations as time passes but that, like my economic incentive, is something you’ll need to ask me about.


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