Learning & Teaching
Learning & teaching
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I once had a patient and I would introduce her to students and she would talk about herself. She would say “Look at this painless, this burn on my arm where I leant against a radiator and got burnt but didn’t feel it because I have no sensation of heat or pain in that arm”. She went on, she said that she had a rare condition called Syringomyelia, affecting the spinal cord. She said “Don’t try and remember this as something on page 920 in your text books, remember me. The way I am in the chair, the painless burn, my story. Think of me. I am Syringomyelia.” And I think this sort of embodiment of a condition in a person and their story is what comes through wonderfully in Healthtalkonline.
Although sometimes one can diagnose a condition, say like Parkinson’s Disease, when you’re 50 yards away, it is very important to meet the person, with the condition and to get their story which is the story, basically of how they have lived with the condition. Their experience of the condition, its impact on them and the way they adapt to it and this is going to be unique and individual with everyone you meet. So you must get a story. Also it’s fun, getting a narrative and getting a human story and the patient feels much more comfortable, they’re, they’re not just an object, sort of being interrogated and examined; they are telling you about themselves.
China Mills: Partly because it breaks up a potentially quite long, dense lecture to have video and audio clips and I think they found it fascinating, because they were second years they hadn’t always had the opportunity to go out into the community and do work with families.
What’s great about Healthtalkonline I think is that different perspectives are shown, so they learnt about alternatives, they learnt about why psychiatry can sometimes be good, sometimes be bad. There was a real kind of range of perspectives which I liked and also that it is possible for people to recover I think was an incredibly important message.
Titles: Why does Healthtalkonline help students?
China Mills: I think it would probably help them in terms of seeing how helpful it can be for people who have been diagnosed or who are having unusual experiences or who are distressed to actually use a resource like Healthtalkonline or meet with other people who’ve gone through the same life experiences and so I was hoping that they would then go on to use something like that within their own work because it provides quite a range of information for people which obviously helps people to make more informed decisions.
Titles: Would you recommend Healthtalkonline to others?
China Mills: I would really recommend other lecturers use Healthtalkonline, particularly because it takes the students almost out of the lecture or out of the seminar and presents a real range of perspectives that are rooted in people’s life experiences of some of the issues that you’re lecturing about.