College of Life Sciences

Student involvement in patient carer educator sessions

Interview with Takunda Nhiwatiwa, Student, Leicester Medical School

Takunda Nhiwatiwa

Why did you get involved in the patient educator session?

At Leicester, patient carers are an integral part to our learning throughout the course, especially in Phase 1’s CHDD sessions. As someone who is part of the carer community outside of medicine, I know that sometimes their tight knit relationship, usually a strong asset and support, can sometimes translate into not having opportunity to engage in sessions or groups of people outside of their very important work. In taking part with this and getting involved, I wanted to help expand the good work that MedRACE do to this very valuable community.

What are the benefits of getting involved in these types of project?

Benefits to this session are plentiful. Personally, explaining concepts such as micro-aggressions and having open conversations with those who think differently is never a bad thing. To the patient carer community, we received excellent feedback regarding the learning materials, explanation of terms and open discussion. It benefits all!

How do you prepare for the session?

Firstly it is very important to be mentally prepared to have some discussions which may be difficult; if everyone had the same thinking there would be no need for bystander training! Therefore it is important to be equipped with resources and strategy to explain things simply, not getting angry and letting discussion flow. As such, we always have a team debrief after these sessions and our very own Dr Kate Williams is a pillar of our Pastoral Support Unit and always on hand for tips and advice. Secondly, it is very important to allow flexibility to adjust depending on the audience. There are times we have taught this workshop to students who are very familiar with the concept of EDI, and so then we would typically spend less times discussing definitions and examples, and more time with scenarios that they may come across. In this instance, some terms and concepts were not familiar to everyone, and the group as a whole were not too confident with all aspects. Therefore we spent more time on this portion as opposed to the exercises themselves. Additionally, our patient carer group are very chatty and always up for discussion, which made for great participation!

Would you recommend to other students?

Yes! The more the merrier! It is a fantastic opportunity to further engage with our patient carer group, learn something yourself and discuss with individuals you may not come across in day to day life.

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