Friday, March 09, 2007

At the Doctor's

A rather strange day, medically-speaking, though not perhaps as strange for me as others might find it.

In the morning I was working with some medical students, acting the role of a patient for them to practise their communication skills. They were at quite an advanced level and wanted a high level of challenge and so I found myself improvising the role of a woman with a terminal illness in an interview with one of the students.

Although the situation is fictitious, the emotions are real - after all, there is certain to be a doctor and patient having a similar conversation in a real hospital at this moment - and I find that the only way I can do it is to think myself into what it would be like to be that person. Hence it's quite demanding, though I do find it really rewarding when they say they find it very useful - which today's students did.

And, if any of you are cynical about the use of roleplay for such teaching - well, all I can say is that it feels totally real at the time; and isn't it far better for the students - who occasionally say something completely inappropriate - to practise on me, and others doing the same job as I do, rather than to practise on real patients?

In the afternoon I found myself at the doctor's for real - or with the nurse, to be precise - having a routine cervical smear. There's a low response rate to calls for this test, because it is so - well, unpleasant as well as undignified, and anyone who says it's not is probably a male doctor. But it is important to have it done and so - only six months overdue, having stalled for ages like most women - I did.

"Oh, well done! Your cervix is really easy to find!" said the nurse.

That's not the sort of thing you hear every day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder where she normally looks for a cervix, if she she considers them hard to find.

11:52 am  

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