Simulation Techniques Help Medical Students Empathize with Melanoma Patients

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 | Skin Cancer , Research and Publications

Simulation techniques can allow doctors to experience what it feels like to be a melanoma patient.

The study, which is led by Queen’s University in Belfast collaboration with researchers from the University of Huddersfield and University College Dublin, appears in the British Journal of Dermatology.

As part of the study, medical students were encouraged to wear a highly realistic temporary tattoo of a malignant melanoma before listening to an audio account of a patient sharing their experience of what it was like to discover a melanoma.  The transfer tattoos have been developed to give the impression of a malignant melanoma, which are used in simulation technique training for doctors.

“The experience had a profound and positive impact on our students. Beyond the clinical diagnosis it encouraged them to consider the person behind the illness, enabling them to develop greater empathy which will stand them in good stead as future clinicians and healthcare providers,” says Dr. Gerry Gormley, lead researcher and senior lecturer at Queen’s University, in a news release. “Experiential learning is important in training doctors to be fully prepared for future eventualities, an approach that could be rolled out wider to benefit doctors and patients alike.”

A medical student who took part in the study says: “It has been a really valuable experience to put myself in the place of a patient. I feel that I can better relate to patients who have received such a diagnosis. It has improved my empathy towards patients and has given me a much greater respect for what they have to deal with.”



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