Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Julie On My Mind

Today I was playing Julie in a teaching session for healthcare students - two students get the chance to do a roleplay with Julie, as if it were a real consultation with a real patient. The others watch and observe - - what went well? What could be done differently?

These sessions have been very well-designed (not by me, I just help to deliver them) - the students list their learning needs at the beginning, and then the two facilitators and the roleplayer do our very best to address them in the session, tweaking the roleplay as necessary so that we do.

One of the students who did the roleplay with me was a health visitor - I'll call her Fiona though that's not her name - who'd been out of this work for a while and was now coming back into it, so she was quite experienced and that showed in everything she did - she was great.

Julie's a woman with many different problems - - children, ex-partner, mother, housing, lack of money - - - it's a very challenging roleplay for the students and today both rose to the challenge so well that I cheered for the future of healthcare! If the student is good then I can make it a bit harder for them as I know they'll have the skills to cope - - today I did this by crying and the health visitor coped with it really well - many people can't.

At the end, just before I came out of role and was introduced to them as myself, this health visitor was asked what would happen after such a meeting in real life.

"I'd know I'd be visiting Julie for weeks - perhaps months or even years," she said. "We get to know everything about them. Even such apparently little things as whether they'd had a wash that morning or changed the sheets on the bed. Once they get to trust me, they'll tell me everything, and it's a big responsibility."

She continued,

"And after a meeting like this I wouldn't remember driving home, because I'd be thinking about Julie and her problems and what could be done. The first I'd know about it would be my key in the door and my own children greeting me and the big dirty dog jumping up at me. And you can't let it interfere with your own life, so then I'd be back into making the tea and talking to my husband and my children. But it's hard to cut off your feelings like that. I'd still have Julie on my mind."

If I were Julie - and I'm so glad I'm not - it would be such a privilege to have Fiona as my health visitor.


Anonymous ruth said...

'Fiona'does sound like an excellent health visitor but I am a little worried about her not knowing a thing about driving home. What if she was so distracted that she had, or caused, an accident?

Perhaps the healthcare students should also be taught techniques for switching off before going home.

7:30 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Ruth - - er - - I've no idea what you mean. I always drive like that. Ask anyone.

9:15 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

"Fiona" sounds like my health visitors. Plural.

11:52 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

Wouldn't it just?

12:36 pm  

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